Well, it has happened again. Almost one year to the day after last year’s devastating hail, even larger stones came pelting down upon our gardens yesterday evening. We saw the clouds rushing in from the west, felt the winds whipping across our faces, headed for shelter, and then, just as we sat down to eat, heard the hailstones descend.
Some of the effects will not materialize for some time. Last year, we found that the onions began to regrow after the hail and therefore did not cure properly. Our tomato yield was drastically reduced and many of the squash were pock-marked. That said, having lived through this experience last year, I am feeling less devastated now than I did then. I know that the garden grows on, and that our plants were particularly strong and healthy going into this assault.
Still, I am eminently grateful that the storm came after we had harvested this week’s wedding flowers. It was our first wedding, and the blooms were glorious (in spite of having been rained on then too). Fortunately, the plants should have plenty of time to recover before the next wedding (and even before the next market, where the bouquets have begun to sell).
Taller plants have been particularly hard hit by the storm. The sweet pea blossoms and sunflower stems strewn across the garden soil are plain to see. But overall, it will take some time to determine the true impact of the storm. At the moment, some plants look virtually unscathed, while others are severely battered. We have had to postpone today’s pick-up (more because of the mud and wind than the hail), and when you do get your vegetables this week, they will not be as beautiful as they have been, nor will they keep as well due to the bruising caused by hail impact.
Still, your bags will be bursting with the flavours of the season. We have one final week of shelling peas, along with the first abundant harvests of green, wax, and purple beans. We still have broad beans, and the zucchini are hitting their stride. Salad and cooking greens are a little tattered, but still present, as are a wide array of herbs (parsley, basil, dill, cilantro, summer savory, mint, and the tail end of the arugula and cress). The cucumbers have begun to produce — slicers for the orders and pickling cukes available for ordering. The beets will likely be sent leafless (though some leaves in the centres of the rows may be intact enough to be worth sending), and carrots and potatoes will continue through the rest of the season provided it is dry enough to dig them. Even with last night’s unwelcome icy visitors, the vegetable bags will be an array almost as colourful as the flowers above.