September 8, 2011

The Rains Came

I took stock of our various gardens when we began battening down the hatches for Irene two weeks ago and liked what I saw.  The precipitation that came at the start of August had been just what we needed to end the month-long dry spell that was beginning to take its toll on shrubs and perennials.  Two weeks later, with Irene threatening, the gardens looked perfect and I hoped against hope that they would be spared the damaging winds of the storm.

This NOAA chart is
current to September 7.
Two additional inches
of rain have fallen
Irene came and went and, as I wrote at the time, we got off lightly.  The storm dropped six inches of rain on Medfield but our trees, shrubs and flowers came through with no damage.  However, Irene left, but the skies cleared for a few days, then clouded up again.  For the last ten days, we have been in a weather system that has dropped monsoon-quantity amounts of water on a part of the country that customarily sees perhaps four inches in a month.  The rain gauge in our yard has been emptied half a dozen times, but the semi-accurate running tally that I keep shows we have had north of twelve inches of rain in the past 30 days.

Medfield is squarely in the
300% of normal
precipitation for the
past 30 days
NOAA backs me up on this.  The two accompanying charts show 30-day precipitation levels across the northeast and variances from normal precipitation for the same time period.  Medfield falls on the border between ten and fifteen inches, and is squarely in the 300% of normal rainfall area.  Since those maps were published, my rain gauge had tallied an additional two inches.

The upshot is that all this rain is putting a premature end to our gardening season. 

The Manhattan bed looks as
though it has been trampled
I went to pick the vegetable garden (in the rain) last evening and found it a sea of mud.  The zucchini aren’t growing; the tomatoes are waterlogged.  In the absence of sun and warmth, the eggplant are the same size they were two weeks ago and the green beans are being chomped by Mexican bean beetles.  The lettuce is thriving but is spattered with mud.

In our main gardens, water ponds during rainstorms; a sure sign the ground is saturated.  The lawn squishes when I walk on it (an audible ‘keep off the grass’ sign).  Plants are drooped over, weighed down by all the water.  Heretofore long-lasting blooms are patches of color on the ground.

I hear that all this rain means a more colorful autumn and longer lasting leaves on trees.  I’ll let you know later if that theory holds…. (oops) water.

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