Monday, April 30, 2012

We Need Rain!

Monday, April 30/12

Good morning Everyone!  Hope you are all well and gardening.  I just sent a note off to the local TV weather people. Let's all think Rain!  Best regards,  Why's Woman


Please, when you report the weather ... find as many ways to be positive about rain as you find to be positive about sunshine.  We need rain!

I appreciate the weather information you give because I garden.  At this time of year your forecast helps me know when to close the cold frame at night or put leaves or sheets over new plants so they are not frost-touched.  Right now, we need rain and we need a positive attitude about rainfall.  Rainfall means food.

You'd have to see my garden to understand just how many plants are growing (and if you want to visit, just get in touch).  Seedling plants (from seed or transplants) are stalled or in trouble; I'm watering them.  I'm watering some self-sown parsley that's come up (way to early in the year for parsley - it came up because of the early warmth).  I'm watering the swiss chard that wintered over; their growth is stalled and they are vulnerable at the small size.  Kale and swiss chard are two vegetables that winter over and produce early leaf harvest prior to sending up stalks and going to seed (which I want it to do so I can save the seed for next year). I'm watching perennial food plants like rhubarb, and will be watering soon if we don't get rain; the rhubarb is mulched heavily and is in healthy soil but will deteriorate in quality soon if there's no rain or watering.   I've had peas come up and they've been now "resting" at 10cm height for the last two weeks.  I used all the captured rainwater we had long ago.  I've been putting tap water in containers for 24 hours (to let some of the chlorine evaporate off) and using this to water the small plantlings in the cold frame, the self-seeds, tiny starts from seeds planted and germinated, the plantling transplants in the vegetable beds. 

More robust, perennial herbs and flowers have come up early this season, but are "waiting" for rain to grow.  Plants know the difference between rainwater and tap water.  I wouldn't know the technical information, but I expect plants' complex systems know the chemical mix they need ... and it's rainwater every time.

When the weather is off, less food is produced in my garden and on the farms 'round about.  Gardeners and farmers are not just anxious about frosts these days.  We are waiting for rain.

Right now, April 30, London and area may not be in drought, in meterological terms, but we need rain.  According to Environment Canada statistics, we had 18.4mm precipitation from April 1 through April 26 (none since).  In March there was 45.9 mm; 26 mm of that was in two rains prior to and including March 12. Going by the rule of thumb of 2.5cm per week it is easy to see this is too little.  In April, we have had less than one week's worth of required rain.  That data is after a funny winter*, with little snow cover ... leading to less run-off in the spring ... less ground water. 

Last evening (Sunday, April 29) Melissa started off the weather forecast by using the phrase "beneficial rain" and I was all excited about the positive term.  In her main forecast, however, every mention of rain was in negative or apologetic terms.

I really would like to hear a forecast that gives some glory to the rain forecast! 

For example, as you give the forecast, tell people the relation between rain and the strawberry harvest that they are looking forward to.  Field strawberries have surely began their growth early this year!  Farmers must be worried about frost already because plants are larger than they should be and may be starting bloom; and now, we've had no rain.  If this continues and blooms come and are pollinated, the strawberries won't develop to saleable size without rain.  Farmers have been planting corn early because of the warmer weather, probably anticipating rain; what's going to happen as the rain stalls? 

I know that letters should be short and to the point.  That's why I put my message in the first line:  Please, when you report the weather ... find as many ways to be positive about rain as you find to be positive about sunshine.  We need rain!

Thank you for the weather news.  I'd like to hear more complicated coverage, including positive views of rain and would love to have rainfall amounts included as much as possible.  I know there's a weekly gardener forecast ... Is there any meteorological model in other cities that monitors rain in gardens instead of "at the airport"?

Sincerely and with very best regards,
(Why's Woman's alter ego)

*And the early warm temperatures we've had!  We had bloom on the pear tree three weeks ago, and while there were insects out pollinating I don't know what pears we'll get because of the frosts we've had now.  Same with the apple, that's just gone through bloom but we've had freezing nights.  I heard on the CBC the other day that the apple harvest in (I think it was) the Georgian Bay area has been devastated, due to early bloom and then cold.

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