Our 2021 garden: transplants surviving the downpour

I gotta say, I am so glad we got those transplants in, yesterday! I’m also glad we’re just getting rain today, and not the severe storms that other parts of our province is getting. Not that far south, either. The motion sensor on the garage security camera gets triggered by lightning. While checking the files, I could track the storm, over the span of a couple of hours, as it swept past us. None of the late night lightning was quite as dramatic is this one.

It was at about 6am when I woke to hear the rain coming down, hard. Of course I was concerned about our new transplants, and checked on them as soon as I could do my morning rounds.

Happily, none of the summer squash appeared damaged. In fact, a couple that were still looking droopy yesterday evening were looking tall and strong. Without a mulch to protect them, though, we’re going to have to add more soil to the mounds before adding the straw.

Even the littlest melon transplants at the squash tunnel were looking quite strong.

In checking these, I realized I made a goof in posting about them, yesterday. I’d said the two types of gourds were planted opposite each other at the far end of the tunnel. I completely forgot that, at the last moment, I changed my mind. Both types of gourds are on one side, with both types of winter squash, opposite them.

It was the corn I was most concerned about, and not just because of the downpour. I’m happy to say that none of them are looking at all drooping or stressed from root disruption. Some did look a bit tipsy from the pounding rain, though! We’ll see how they look, after a few days.

I’m thinking of leaving the little flags for a while. They flutter quite a bit, and might help dissuade deer from approaching.

These Crespo squash were planted a little while ago, and I’m just including them because I’m so happy at how strong looking they are. Even the little one has gotten noticeably bigger and stronger. A lot of things are. The bush beans are looking so fantastic, so quickly! The peas are getting tall enough that we’ll have to start training them up their trellises soon. The carrot sprouts are getting big enough that we can be more vigorous in weeding around them, and not be as concerned about accidentally pulling them up. The two spinach beds we were able to cover over first are looking downright succulent. The third one looks like it had been nibbled on more than I thought, but even so, it’s doing pretty darn good, too.

We don’t seem to have any purple kale coming up; they were pretty much the first things we planted outdoors, and should have come up long ago. The purple kohlrabi planted between the onions and shallots also doesn’t seem to be coming up, either. The onions are doing all right, though I have no idea how big they should be by now. The garlic, meanwhile, is growing like gangbusters.

We’d seen strawberry spinach seedlings earlier, but it seems only a few are still growing, though with those, just a couple of plants would be sufficient. It’s hard to tell them from the weed seedlings, though. The poppies are in a similar situation. I see a few seedlings that might be poppies, but it’s hard to tell with the weeds. That’s one down side of buying garden soil by the dump truck load. It may be a premium mix, but it’s also from a giant pile outdoors, so of course, it came with weeds. At least most of it is a local weed I well recognize, having pulled many of them from my mother’s garden when I was a child! 😀

The lettuces are a mixed bag. Some seem to finally be doing all right, while others seem to have just died off. We need to do a successive sowing of those, anyhow. The seed packets, which were in a Ziploc bag, ended up upside down and some of them spilled, so future sowing is going to be a mix of seeds! Which I don’t mind at all. 🙂 The beets meanwhile, are doing quite well, in all the beds. Even with the cats walking across them, and sometimes lying on them! The tomatoes are also looking really good, including the itty bitty transplants. Even the potatoes are coming up in all of the grow bags, now, and looking very healthy.

After doing my morning rounds, the girls and I made our trip to the city. We even used my mother’s car, partly to give it a good run on the highway, but also because it has air conditioning that works. 😉 I was very happy for those new tires when we found ourselves driving through some very solid rain. It was definitely coming down harder, the further south we went.

For now, we have a break from the rain, but we will likely get more again, before the system finally passes. I think everyone around here is breathing a sigh of relief. We needed this rain so much! And our

The Re-Farmer

After a wild and crazy night!

It was shortly after 1 am and, as I was lying awake in bed, something I was seeing finally soaked through my heat-numbed brain.

Lights.

Flashing lights, out my north facing window.

The sky was lighting up, over and over, hardly a break in between! Constant flashes of lightning.

My West facing window was open, but I heard nothing. No thunder. No rain. Hardly even wind.

But the flashes kept going.

After a while, I went to the main entry and watched the storm coming in through the outer door, before finally moving to the sun room.

Creamsicle and Potato Beetle were very thrilled to see me, and just begging for pets and cuddles!

While standing at the mostly-closed outer door, I heard a distinct crunching noise. Using the flashlight on my phone, I took a peak through the gap behind the garbage can, and could just see the tip of a skunk’s nose!

He waddled away, pausing to scream for a while, soon after.

Skunks make the strangest noise!

One of my daughters came down after hearing me go through the old kitchen, but with Creamsicle and Potato Beetle at the door into the sun room, she decided to go out through the main entrance.

After making sure we were clear of skunk.

We stood outside for a while, watching the sky.

Time and again, the entire yard was lit up bright as day!

Then it started to rain, so we went into the sun room. After a while, my daughter went back into the house, through the main entry, making sure to prop a sawhorse in front of the outer door (we still haven’t been able to finish fixing the frame on that!), to keep it from blowing open, while still being open enough for the cats to come in for shelter.

I remained in the sun room, watching the storm through the outer door, when my other daughter came to join me. She was just telling me about how she had checked the weather radar, and the main part of the storm looked like it was passing us by, but we were still getting warnings for hail… when the hail started!

Then the wind pulled open the outer door, sending the saw horse flying. Even though I was inside, I immediately started getting hit with rain, so I quickly closed up the inner door, and continued watching through the window on that.

The video is much MUCH darker than it actually was outside.

Creamsicle was very happy to be inside the sun room, with me! He kept trying to get my attention while I took photos and video so, after a while, I put the phone away and just cuddled him. He was in heaven, giving me all kinds of hugs and kisses!

Then Potato Beetle got in on the action, and soon I was holding both of them, and watching the storm!

The storm passed by rather quickly, and I was soon able to get the outer door set up with the saw horse to keep it from blowing open again, then went inside. Once inside, a quick check on Facebook found I was not the only one up at almost 2am, posting about the storm!

One of the pages I follow is a local weather group, and they posted an image showing the hundreds of places lightning was detected on the weather radar. The storm itself, amazingly, split just before reaching us. Most of it passed by to the North, and a tiny bit passed us by to the South. What we got was the less severe gap in the middle.

Wow.

So when I headed out to do my morning rounds today, I did a more thorough check for fallen branches and see what other storm damage there might be. There was quite a lot branches to pick up. Only two were live branches, though. The rest were already dead. The elm tree in front of our kitchen window lost so many tiny dead twigs, I didn’t even try to pick them up. I’d need a rake to get them all.

I was happy to note that there was no substantial hail damage to any of the garden plots. I did, however, have a wonderful surprise in the squash.

Two of them have suddenly bloomed! These were not there yesterday, and I really was not expecting to see flowers while the plants are still so small.

These are in the second, larger bed that was transplanted later, and they are doing much much better than the others. The long row in the back that was planted at the same time is doing all right, but not as well as the wider bed. The first bed I’d planted, that got frost damage in spite of our covering them first, is still struggling.

Of the three pumpkin mounds, one of the ones that had a packet of 3 seeds planted in it, now has a second seedling sprouting. The mound that had the packet of 5 seeds planted it in has a first seedling just starting to break ground now.

This late in the season, the only way we’ll get ripe pumpkins, I think, is if we have a late and long, mild fall.

Which could happen. We’ll see.

The surviving first planting of sunflowers have also made a very noticeable increase in growth.

No hail damage on anything planted in the old garden area. No deer damage, either.

It wasn’t until I was almost done my rounds that I found the one tree that fell during the storm.

It’s one of the dead trees I need to clean out, anyway, so this actually saves me some work! 😀

With the heat wave, our weekly checking of the root cellar has provided useful information already. With the possibility of building a cheese cave in there, a few years from now, we are looking for a temperature range of between 7C – 12C (45F – 55F) and a humidity level in the 85-95% range, though some types of cheese require different temperatures. As of this morning, the root cellar was at 17C/62F, and the humidity was at 88%. It was the same last week, too. So for most types of cheeses, it would be too warm. It also is not as consistent as it should be. There is an air vent that goes straight outside, with nothing but window screen mesh to keep the bugs out, at the end. I’d tried partially blocking it, but enough of a wind gets through that it blows out whatever is used. It might be worthwhile to add some sort of vent covering that can be opened and closed to help keep the temperatures from fluctuating too much.

Meanwhile, the heat wave continues. We’re already at 29C/84F (“feels like” 33C/91F), with a predicted high of 31C/87F (humidex: 36C/96F). Heat alerts remain. At least the high water and flood alerts have stopped for now, though we have more thunderstorms predicted overnight, so that might change.

Heat or no heat, we have really got to get the counter moved out, so we can put in the new stove. With the old stove, we’d already stopped using one of the elements, due to sparking when it was turned on or off. The girls, who have taken to cooking and eating at night rather than during the day, have noticed other elements have started to spark, too.

It’s going to be dreadful, and take hours to accomplish, but it has to be done.

Installing the stove itself will be the easy part. Juggling the dining table, chairs, shelves, the contents of the counter, and the counter itself, while still leaving room for the old stove to be pulled out, and the new stove to be moved in, is the hard part.

The Re-Farmer

Midnight Light Show

We had a storm sweep through last night – lots of rain and lightning, but oddly, no wind.

These two photos were taken .04 seconds apart.

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My older daughter and I went into the sun room to watch, and there were many times when the yard was suddenly bright as day!

I tried to take video as well, and have one that I will upload later.  It’s a lot darker than what we were actually seeing, but still shows how much lightning we were getting.

I did a walk around the yard before driving my younger daughter to work, and was amazed by the complete lack of downed branches.  Usually, any stiff wind will at least send willow branches flying.  Not a one!

Which I am grateful for.  This morning, I learned that a tornado touched down to the south of us, and at least one home was torn from its foundation.

We have much to be thankful for here.  The brunt of storms always seems to pass our area by.

The Re-Farmer

Update: I have since learned that the tornado touched down to the northwest of us, on the other side of another lake.  One person was found dead next to his destroyed home. 😦