Coping with drought: a glass half full


Corn, beans, some pumpkin “volunteers” and kale. Let it rain

I’m going to make a concerted effort to look on the bright side.

Okay, so Hope Ness, like the rest of southern Ontario, is in the midst of a prolonged drought. There has been some timely rainfall, but not enough to give the ground a real, good soaking. I’ve been growing and digging potatoes for a lot of years, and I’ve never seen this clay loam soil so hard and dry.

On the other hand, I have corn that seems to be coping okay, and already well over my head in height as we head into August. The “silk” is showing nicely and the cobs are starting to form. Corn is a tough crop. The roots must be going pretty deep to find enough moisture. With any luck and maybe another timely rain I’ll have peaches and cream corn to pick my in two or three weeks. That’s not bad for just south of the 45th Parallel.


I started picking beans a few days ago – green beans first, then Royal Burgundy, and today a few yellow beans with plenty of indication of an abundant harvest coming on. Some rain would be nice, but there’s little chance of it in the forecast for the next week. The wind was from the east this morning, instead of the prevailing westerlies. That’s usually a good sign of a low pressure area and rain on the way. But there’s just a 30 percent chance of it the day after tomorrow; and then nothing but sunny days the rest of the week. Looks like I’ll have to dip into the well again and do some watering to help bring the beans along.

My “volunteer” pumpkin patch is still looking very, very good. I can’t lay claim to that perfectly appropriate word to describe plants that just come up on their own from a few seeds left behind after harvest. In this case though, the volunteers come from a couple of pie pumpkins that ended up in the compost pile late last fall. At any event, those pie pumpkin plants are now just about the healthiest looking part of the garden. Unfortunately, there’s a critter out there – a groundhog, I think – that’s been gnawing away on the young pumpkins closest to his, or her, burrow under the garden shed.

I knew I should have got myself a good, old farm dog.

It’s a full-time job looking after a garden this size, and I must confess it’s hard to keep up. I’ve started digging potatoes, about two rows so far, with 15 to go. The lack of moisture seems to have affected the yield of Irish Cobblers; but still, I estimate I’ve got at least a tonne of potatoes to dig over the next few weeks, along with lots of beans.


In the corn, just a tad overwhelming at times. But all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well. You gotta believe


I try to get an early start in the morning with garden chores, and the always too-long “to do” list.

By the time evening rolls around I’m pretty well done in. In case anyone’s noticed, that’s why I haven’t been much of a presence in the blogosphere lately.

It’s dark out now, and I suppose there’s a groundhog down there nibbling on my “volunteers.”

I think maybe I’ll grab a flashlight and walk over and introduce myself.

“Hey you,” I’ll say, “I’m Phil and those are my pumpkins, not yours. But I’ll make you a deal: if you promise to limit yourself to that one plant and its fruit, I’ll let it go. I’m not hard to get along with.

“Live and let live, that’s my motto.”

I’ll let you know how that works out.



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