Over the past few summers, Mother Nature hasn’t been very kind to those of us living and gardening in Western North Carolina. Rainy, gray days far outnumbered sunny ones. Each year, we planted tomatoes, green beans, zucchini and other yummy stuff only to watch the rain continually beat the leaves off of the plants and drown the roots. Several particularly heavy rainfalls actually washed plantings out of the ground.
We had some limited luck with green beans. We planted them in containers on our small back porch. When it wasn’t raining, we drug the plants towards the edge of the porch. When it would start to pour, we would race outside and drag the pots under the eaves. There were more than a few occasions that we ended up soaked to the skin. Our teeny harvest probably wouldn’t have weighed a pound but having fresh picked beans, even if only a few mouthfuls, is always a wonderful treat.
This season seems to be shaping up a bit like the summer I spent at Western North Carolina University in 1985. (Yep, I’m dating myself a bit there.) Virtually every afternoon of the 5 weeks I spent there, the sky would darken, the wind would rise and we would have a torrential downpour. It would last between 10 and 30 minutes. More often than not, we were also treated to a loud electric light show as lightening flashed across the sky. Then the clouds would disappear and the sun would return.
We’re keeping our fingers crossed that if it does have to rain most days that it will be short periods in the afternoon and that the rest of the day will be sunny and warm. We waited to plant anything outside this year…good thing, considering we had a trio of frosty nights late in April. Our best tomato plant is in the Carolina room (an unheated, enclosed sun porch for anyone not familiar with that term). It has one nice-sized tomato that’s just starting to turn color, one rubber-ball sized green mater and a few new flowers. We only have that because of the light we shine on it most days.
We have green beans planted, in pots again. The rabbits are downright ravenous this year. I watched one eat a bush. Of course it wasn’t a big bush that wouldn’t miss a branch or two or even a volunteer bush that we need to remove. Nope, our bunny had to reach up on his little tippy toes and chew up an expensive flowering bush that we bought last year. There were five branches. Now a fence protects the lone remaining branch. Thankfully, bunny pruned the bush at a good time as the tips of the trimmed branches are greening up.