TOO MUCH RAIN MAKES GARDENING DIFFICULT
Here along the Texas coast we have had over 20” of rain from September 1 to October 25, 2018. September was hot and humid until a cold front came in around October 1. Most of these seven weeks have been overcast with light to dark grey clouds. I have suffered symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): feeling sad, discouraged, helpless, and depressed related to gardening this fall. SAD symptoms usually take place in December during the short days of daylight. However, a tropical storm in the western Gulf and hurricanes In the Southeast US and from the Pacific into Mexico have brought rain that has saturated the soil, raised the water table to the surface, and left water standing in ponds and ditches. My garden plants seemed to be suffering from Seasonal Effective Disorder (SED). They were slow growing and had a light green color. I feared the roots would rot and that the nitrogen was being leached out of the soil. With too much rain falling in many parts of the US, I think other gardeners are having or will have some of the same problems in their gardens.
What have I done? I planted on rows raised 1’ above the middles. I sprayed Spray-N-Grow every week so the leaves would get nourished even if the roots were limited. Some of the yellowing of my plants was due to the nitrogen being used to break down the compost and organic fertilizers. During the 6th week the tomatoes, beans, and squash greened up and grew a lot just like adolescents. We are picking jalapenos and squash. The Chinese cabbage rebounded from a major worm attack and now spreads over a foot wide. I got on my knees with knee pads and pulled weeds in the rows because they were growing better than the vegetables. Now the tomatoes are over 5’ tall with several golf ball sized tomatoes. The turnips and mustard seed popped up quickly. Unfortunately the lettuce and spinach seeds have germinated sparsely with row cover over them because of the soil turning into soggy mud or maybe old seed. When I tilled last Saturday to plant English peas, the middle were mud and the raised rows not much better. I checked today, the peas are swelling up as if to sprout.
My orchard of citrus trees are doing well in the midst of all the rain and the high water table. There have been many days where the water was standing all around the outside of the garden fence and around the raised beds of the citrus trees. I have over 100 Rio Red Grapefruits on my two trees. The drought and then the heavy rains may have effected their size somewhat. The Clementine tree is loaded. The Blood Orange tree is baring its first fruit with over 25 oranges on the 12’ tree. The Calamondin Sour Orange tree has 100s of fruit. They are good in tea and to give to visitors who want an intense orange taste. The Myers Lemon and the Temple Orange appear loaded. This week I will clear out the tall weeds around those trees.
– Herman Green