Sunday, July 5, 2009


We had an amazing thunderstorm today -- actually we're having another one right now that is threatening to take out our electricity. The rain was coming down incredibly hard for a long time. Apparently there might have only been a 1/2" of rain or so but I swear it was more. A container out front had an inch of rain in it.

After it rained and rained and rained, it started hailing. First pea-sized. Then it got quiet. and I heard this random pinging sound. It was 1/2" diameter hail hitting the metal roof and bouncing around.

A few minutes ago I went outside to take a look at everything between storms while it was bright and sunny but the dark blue-gray clouds were rolling in again. The summer squash, winter squash and melon plants are incredibly ripped up, and I'm not sure they will recover. The bean plants and beets were also damaged but probably not fatally.

Some plants were covered -- the broccoli and Brussels sprouts all survived as they've been covered with burlap to shade and protect them from the cabbage butterfly -- and apparently has a third benefit now. I covered up a couple of small acorn squash plants that might pull through.

I'm so, so, so happy(/thankful/relieved) I built my hoophouse. I have some zucchini that are about ready to pick -- had it been outside the plant would be destroyed. Most of my garden would be gone if it was out in the open. Half inch hail is pretty nasty. Obviously not golf-ball sized -- that would probably be putting holes in the hoophouse plastic. I've never seen hail that big fortunately.

The temperature outside plummeted into the low 50s, but inside the hoophouse it didn't go under 65. The temperature this morning as I worked in the yard was in the mid 70s. I'm glad I got out there and listened to Weekend Edition and hoed and weeded and transplanted wooly thyme while I could. I scrambled indoors at the first loud crack of lightning that seemingly came out of nowhere. The temp plummeted 20 degrees (outdoors) over a period of about 10 to 15 minutes.

Some tomatoes out front survived thanks to my ant-prevention technique. I set up a mini hoophouse (1 foot x 2feet) using metal hoops and floating row cover in a kind of pup tent configuration. This was to keep diatamaceous earth from washing away -- I put this around the plants to kill any ants coming in for the kill. The row cover protected the young plants against most of the rain and all the hail.

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