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Intrepid Urban Farmer: Hate rain, love rain, don’t/do need rain — gardening is just a collision of emotions

By Ginger Dawson
Special to NKyTribune

I don’t know about you, but I’ve just about had it with water. It just seems to be everywhere. 

I turn on a faucet and it comes out. It always does. Sometimes it announces itself even when not summoned. Drip. Drip. Drip.

This was in June after just a couple of days. Almost three inches. (Photos provided)

But then, on occasion, when I’ve turned on the faucet, it hasn’t come. Is this some kind of joke? It has tricked me with its stubborn need to freeze in the pipes during subzero weather. This is done on purpose, I am certain.  Damn water.

I go into the bathroom — it’s in the toilet. Always. And sometimes it likes to complain with its incessant running. 

The water in the toilet is a good thing, I suppose. There’s good utility there, but the cats have taken to drinking it, even though there is a perfectly good bowl of fresh water (more of it!) right beside the toilet.

This is disgusting. These creatures sleep on my BED.

I take a walk and go a few blocks and there is more water than I can even hazard a guess at. Rivers!  Two of ‘em! They combine forces, and there is more water there than anywhere around, without taking a trip to Cleveland to look at a lake or traveling even further to go see an ocean (perish the thought!).

This is enough water for a person to have to contend with.

But then, lately, we have this business with it falling out of the sky! In sheets! Buckets of it!  

I like the looks of this eggplant. It’s the pick of the litter.

Sometimes THIS water comes into the house outside of its usual channel. Like an uninvited, pushy mother-in-law, it comes in despite you. Basements, roofs and windows are all fair game. 

In the last month we have had over ten inches of rain. 

Considering one inch per week is a nice standard, this in unconscionable.

If I didn’t have to drink the stuff to survive, I’d just call the Northern Kentucky Water District and tell them to pull the plug….I mean turn the shut-off valve. You know what I meant.

Unfortunately, I can’t do a thing about the stuff falling out of the sky.

Having a fairly big garden makes a person a little hypersensitive about water.

I take a lot of time planning the layout of my garden and even more time doing it.

It’s hard to believe that this eggplant is the same age! Poor puny little runt.

This means that, in addition to getting the plants in the ground with plant supports, straw and newspaper, I also devise a network of soaker hoses in the event that the growing season will be a little droughty. 

Water always claims its platform and demands consideration.

So far, drought has not been a problem THIS year.

There has been so much rain that I think for the first time, I have a couple of pepper plants and an eggplant afflicted with water intoxication. And, they don’t even look like they’re having any fun!  

The peppers are barely a third of the size of the others.  They have yellowed leaves on the bottom, but they do look like they are trying to pull out of it. I don’t know if they’ll make it or not.

The eggplant is just a puny, consumptive little thing and I have been trying to decide whether to watch it and see what it will do — or just perform a mercy killing. 

The extreme amount of rain has also jump-started blight on the tomatoes. Joy, oh joy.

This pepper plant is looking good. It has already set fruit.

Amazingly, I have been pro-active about cutting out the blighted leaves in an attempt to control the spread of it. It is not like me to be this conscientious. Change IS possible. Sometimes.

When cutting out blighted leaves, it is important to be very clean about it. Otherwise, you will inadvertently spread the infection and increase the blight in all of the plants. 

It’s a good idea to do this in the morning after the dew has burnt off.  Make sure to have clean hands, a clean pair of scissors (or pruners) and a squirt bottle of isopropyl alcohol.

Go from one plant to the next, and cut out the yellowed, mottled leaves. These are usually on the bottom of the plant. Make sure to also cut off any leaves that are laying on the ground. Between each plant, make sure to disinfect by squirting alcohol on the scissors and your hands.  

This won’t prevent blight completely, but it will eliminate the amount of infected trash (dead plant matter) from building up.

When you garden in a small space for many years, the main challenge is combating the build-up of plant pathogens and insurgent insects. You cannot allow this to discourage you. This is just Mother Nature flexing her muscles and it is just simply a part of gardening.

And here is its wimpy sibling. I hope it pulls out of it — No guarantee though.

Since gardening is something that I am driven to do (I just simply can’t help it), I have chosen to consider this aspect of gardening as WAR.  Me against Her (Mother Nature). Being of a more sanguine temperament, I choose to consider all efforts in this battle as tools in my arsenal.

It’s my yard; it’s my garden, and I WILL prevail! Sometimes.

It is a life-long lesson in humility.

Now, back to that damn water.

Unfortunately, the ten or so inches of rain that has fallen cannot be averaged out to accommodate the following weeks. We cannot say that since we’ve had ten inches, we don’t need to worry about rain for another month and a half. It just doesn’t work that way.

Evaporation and easily drained soil (raised beds!) prevent this.

It’s been at least eight days since any appreciable amount of rain has fallen.

I didn’t mean a single thing that I said about being sick of water. Just ignore the first half of this article.

When it is going to rain again? Come on, I’m waiting.


Ginger Dawson has resided in Covington since 1988. Raised on a farm in South Central Ohio, she has enjoyed a very eclectic and enriching life. She loves her Italianate Victorian Townhouse and particularly the garden behind it. See her new website at intrepidurbanfarmer.com

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