Rain, rain, go away

I don’t know if the weather’s trying to make up for last year’s drought or what, but it seems like an especially cold and soggy spring so far. We’ve had several thunderstorms in the past two week – two dumped three inches of rain on us, and the last one (from which the garden is still trying to recover – was a deluge of 5 1/2 inches. In one night. And it’s supposed to continue raining throughout the week.

I had brought all my seedlings out into the greenhouse/coldframe at the Patch to harden off at the beginning of May. I managed to get half the tomatoes planted – 10 of them, beautiful strong things at least 10″ tall – before these weeks of horrible weather set in. I’m glad I didn’t get the chance to plant more, because every single one of those tomatoes drowned.

(I wish I could afford to build raised beds and truck in lovely fluffy compost to fill them. I hate this confounded Maryland clay.)

So now I’ve got a shed just packed with seedlings that are all grown up, with no place to go. The garden needs at least a week to dry out before I can plant anything – the golden gardening rule is “Don’t work with wet soil, you’ll ruin it” – and while we’ve gotten a couple of sunny days here and there, they’re always sandwiched in between stretches of rain. Even the tamped paths, prepared with thick layers of newspaper topped with 4″ of grass clippings, have given way to mud. Just walking in the Patch is a recipe for wet and squelching socks.

And if the rain weren’t enough, the temperatures are crazy too. There’s only two weeks till June… and yet it’s supposed to get down into the 40’s tonight and tomorrow night! Daytime high temperatures may touch 70 once this week. If we’re lucky. (In case you don’t know why this is bad, most summer seedlings need to be planted out when the soil temperature is around 60 degrees. Which means daytime temps should be in the high 70s for a while, and nighttime temps should be at least in the high 50s).

So thanks to the weather, I’m nearly a month behind schedule and may lose most of the seedlings that I’ve been nurturing since February. Remind me why this is fun, again?

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