Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Garden Log

My sister Sue is famous for keeping a running diary for the past 45 years or so. It contains mostly detailed factoids like: "Dec 3, 1981. . .it rained 5 inches today and boy did we need it". Having that running record has been a beautiful thing because we have found through the years that if the family is having trouble remembering a time period; an event; what exactly was happening when; the date of the big storm in 1977--we can ask Sue and she can dig out the answer from the belly of one of the diaries.

MK had the idea of keeping the garden log so that when our good friend Carol says something obscure to us like "plant your corn when the oak leaves are as big as a squirrel's ear" and I promptly forget two days later and ask everyone who was in the room. . ."was that corn, tomatoes or green beans, because the oak leaves are bigger than a squirrel's ear right now?" we will have the accurate record. So with that in mind. . . .BTW the answer was corn and apparently we need to plant it now. If you wonder about the truth of this, check this out:

April 26, 2008
The garden has been planted for 1.5 weeks now. We got lucky--no new frost. Routinely at this time of year we have one early May or late April day of hard hail during a spring storm and everyone's beautiful plantings get destroyed. Not yet this year, cross our fingers. Today, it rained as much as 3-5 inches in some areas around us--some just 2 miles from our house. It was torrential rain--but it went right around us and we did not get a drop. So MK watered the new plantings for about an hour. She has the pump set up from the stream again so watering is a breeze--just turn it on for about an hour and go back and move it, then turn it off. Wouldn't a timer be amazing? Temp today was mid 70's for the high. Bright sunshine.

I need to get the cantaloupe in the ground on the back hill by Charlie.

April 27, 2008
It rained hard mostly all day today and massive storms were around Greenville. Areas of upstate SC had inch size hail. This is what I fear this time of year around here with planting early. We usually get 1 hail storm that wipes everything out. Cross our fingers. More storms tonight moving through with the cold front but hopefully no hail.

April 28, 2008
The garden grew alot overnight. We had a pretty gentle rain through the night but the official word today was that we got 1.2" the most for any area around here. Seemed like the sprouts just popped right through and they are all doing pretty well. We are still concerned about the cucumbers and may need to replant them as Kate mentioned.

April 29, 2008
These are "cross our fingers" days. We have lots of these in the mountains as spring weather is so unbelievably unpredictable. It is always something to wonder when the next big freeze is going to come. I have heard that it is tonight and hopefully if it happens, it will not be a hard freeze because we could easily lose alot.

There have been many years in the past 8 since we arrived in Brevard, that people who planted in April, lost everything. Cliff, our next door neighbor, is a staunch prescriptionist of "DO NOT plant before May 15, except for 'cold weather crops'. He believes that most will be lost if you do because too many things can happen. We had the garden ready this year--I say "we". I didn't, but take credit anyway for all the hours of hard labor that Kate and Mary Kay did day after day to get the soil ready, the manure tilled in and the weeds raked out. Kate spent literally hours raking until everything was silky smooth and free of weed seedlings. That time has already paid off, as she alluded to in her post.

I remember last year, Mary Kay and I went to Leicester to look at Denver and then buy Denver, around this time of year. He was a looker. Anyway, there was this incredible, beautiful and well-progressed garden on the corner next to his pasture. We went back in late May and everything that was growing so nicely at Mother's Day, had been unmercifully destroyed by a hail storm a few days later. It looked pitiful. Everything was gone. Those people had obviously planted their crops in early April and had experienced everything right up to then. Then, poof. They lost everything. That is how it happens here in the mountains. Year after year. We are crossing our fingers at Hidden Springs tonight. Praying a few little prayers that the frost don't bite too hard and the little sprigs of green remain upright by tomorrow afternoon.

Reading this though, I went to check the temps posted for lows tonight. Frost entirely possible but was confronted with pictures of the Virginia tornados. Aren't we lucky? Those towns look like blown apart popsicle sticks--nothing remains. We are so fortunate that nothing like that happens here.


MK said...

It is interesting how easy the watering is.....Well, the real story is that sometimes it is relatively easy, and sometimes you have to get your feet wet in the creek getting a bucket of water to prime it with. Then sometimes you have to take it apart and clean the filter and then sometimes there is a kink in it and then sometimes you walk all the way out there and the darn thing isn't plugged in yet. But anyway, all agree that it is MUCH better than hauling water bucket by bucket from the creek or trying to use water from the well and running it dry. Anyway, we are very happy that Cliff suggested it last year. I hope he is feeling better and going to plant some this year, too.

Mary Coleman said...

Hey Jane,
This is going to be a great blog and I'm so glad you stopped by mine.
I'll be back!

Sue said...

Funny you mentioned my diaries. March 9 I walked past my diaries and thought "wondered what happened 30 years ago today?" Here is what it says: "March 9, 1978, No school. Snow on ground 8 weeks today. At end of January 13" of snow on ground, we now have 17". Took a picture of the front of the house today. Snow comes to just below my knees with ice scratching my knees when I broke through the snow." (March 7 we got 10" of snow with 1/2" ice on top)