So far, our fruit-bearing trees and shrubs are faring well — blossoming with abandon, no fear of a freeze or an ill-timed downpour. Pollinators that survived the harsh season behind us have plenty to buzz about: Sour cherries, sweet cherries, peaches, honeyberries, juneberries, strawberries. Currants and blueberries, gooseberries, black raspberries and aronias are soon to follow.
The annuals, however, are thirsty. Really thirsty.
I’ve been reluctant to sow any more seed until the promise of a shower. Watering cans do in a pinch, but they’re no substitute for a gentle overnight soak.
My husband, Kevin, and I have already started saving gray water, even looking for excuses to do dishes to justify another bucketful of life-sustaining liquid for the peas, lettuce, rashishes, beets, Swiss chard, pansies, basil, celery, parsley and onions struggling to establish themselves. We’ve also been dutifully supplying the necessary inch of water each week to the newer fruit trees. If it stays dry for another week, we’ll be watering garlic, asparagus and rhubarb, too.
There’s been no sign of life yet from the borage, carrots, parsnips or rutabagas, also sowed last month to take advantage of the early spring germination conditions they prefer, but which lasted a scant three weeks. I’m still hopeful that a future rainfall will be able to coax them into joining the party. And, I have plenty of extra carrot seed for subsequent plantings.
We have broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, bokchoy, radicchio and kohlrabi transplants ready to go in after these temperatures in the 80s subside. A variety of herbs and companion plants — lavender, hyssop, thyme, lemon balm, marigolds, pyrethrum and pennyroyal — are also in the queue. Even more trays have tomatoes, peppers and eggplants hardening off on the front porch.
Postscript — And then it rained on Sunday. A lot.