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Rain, rain go away!

May 16, 2011 - Janet DelTurco
Things in the garden were looking beautiful in the sunshine and balmy breezes, well for two days that was. Now after days and nights of unremitting rain and cold temperatures it has gone downhill in a big hurry. The poor little tomatoes, peppers and eggplant that were settling in so nicely are sprawling on a sea of mud, the bean seeds have their soil covering washed away, and the just-emerging Swiss chard, lettuce, greens, beets, turnips and radishes are covered with the blown-off blossoms of the lilacs and other wind-blown detritus.

I just went outside to cut off some drooping branches from the New Dawn rose that is supposed to be climbing over the front door and around the windows. It had leafed out beautifully after a very severe pruning early in the spring, but my motley collections of wire, string, nails and trellis could not hold up in the stormy winds, and I have felt like Sleeping Beauty (not quite!) the past few days, with the front door barred to all comers. Standing on a rather precarious step ladder I got it tidied up this afternoon, between "showers" and I have come inside again with fingers that are not only bleeding from thorns, but also nearly frozen.

I am trying something new, or rather something really old this year, the Three Sisters. The Iroquois used to plant corn, beans ans squash together for mutual benefit, with a fish buried under the whole lot. The fish provided fertilizer for all three, the corn grew tall and strong and provided support for the pole beans, the beans fixed nitrogen in the soil for the corn and squash acted as a growing mulch to keep the soil moist and cool and deter weeds. Well, the corn is in, and "moist and cool" describes present conditions perfectly. I owe the fish to Linda Rose, Program Director at the Seneca County Parks and a good friend. Linda not only found me some remains of catfish that had evidently been partly eaten by predators, probably mink, but also delivered them to me. I duly buried them below the corn seeds, and then today she returned with a whole fish found on a dock. He is residing in the freezer until the puddles dry out in the garden and I can plant the rest of the corn. As frustrated as I feel with this weather, I can only imagine how it is for the farmer waiting to get his crops into the ground. Mine is just for fun, but when your livelihood depends on it, not so funny.


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