In our part of the world, it is usually safe to plant bedding plants such as tomatoes and peppers out the May Victoria Day long weekend (on or before the 24th of May). This year we were in Victoria, BC, that weekend, moving our kids. Shortly after we returned, it began to rain and didn’t let up for more than a few hours at a time until Friday-Sunday this week.
Because we have a fairly large garden, Jim usually works it with the rotovator on behind the John Deere tractor. And because our soil has a high clay content, the moisture content needs to be quite low so the tractor doesn’t pack it down more than it fluffs it up.
We were getting desperate enough to consider planting without rotovating as the plants got more and more rootbound in their little plastic containers, but Friday we only got a few sprinkles. Saturday was clear enough to do some work in the garden prepping while we waited for the soil to dry enough. Sunday morning before church Jim ran the rotovator through. The sky was sunny; the temperature pleasant.
When we got back from church, the sky had darkened considerably (considering the forecast was for several days of ‘variable cloudiness’ and ‘cloudy with occasional showers’) and we figured we’d better get to some serious work! We staked out the corn rows on the east end of the garden, spread the black plastic for the tomatoes, and quickly raked up a couple more long seed beds while it started to drizzle. You can see the rotovator still parked on the garden’s edge.
By this time, the sky to the west looked like this (can you make out the mountaintop?), and we knew we’d better keep going as long as we could, because who knew when the next reprieve might come? And so I planted tomatoes while Jim rolled out tires (needed to keep the plastic from billowing when the wind picks up and breaking the plants.)
Yes, kneeling on the plastic meant that I was absolutely soaking wet and covered in mud. Yes, the mud was packing hard beneath me, so I was very careful to only kneel between plants and not where I would plant later. At any rate, over half the garden is now in: tomatoes, eggplants, kohlrabi, basil, and summer savory plants. The radishes, lettuce, swiss chard, green beans, yellow beans, carrots, beets, and rutabagas are seeded.
And now we wait for the next few hours of sunlight to get the rest of it in the ground! Whew. Some years it is hard to ‘be green’ and ‘eat local.’