A weird weather pattern has settled upon our area in the past couple of weeks. Each day the forecast has included showers and thunderstorms, interrupting our pre-arranged garden routine.
My calendar is full of scratched-out plans. I should have written our daily intentions to visit the Green Thumb community garden in pencil not pen.
Some mornings my two sons and I are dressed and ready to leave the house, but then as we finish up the last few bites of our pancakes or cereal breakfast, rain starts to spill from the clouds. In the evenings, our plans also have been squashed by the rumble of distant thunder or severe weather warnings announced on the radio or TV.
Normally, working in the garden at mid-day would be impossible with the hot sun pouring over our shoulders. But recently, my 11-year-old and I seized an opportunity to head to the garden for an unscheduled visit before the afternoon clouds dropped more buckets of water.
Sprinkles fell on the car windshield as we drove over, but not enough to force me to turn on the wipers.
As gray clouds loomed overhead, we grabbed our tools from the boot of the car and went to work.
“This is great!” I said, raking the rows to prevent unwanted weeds.
The sprinkles were just enough to remind us that more rain was coming, but not enough to soak our clothes. A breeze was blowing. The sun was behind the clouds, so the temperatures were pleasant and the humidity was manageable.
“I guess we don’t need to water the plants,” my son said.
We were relieved to see that the garden wasn’t flooded. Driving through the country roads, we had seen many fields spilling soil onto the road in swirls of water and puddles burying planted crops.
We did have to fight a mosquito or two, but the breeze kept most bugs away.
The calm in between storms gave us a chance to pluck dead Marigold blooms and remove weeds. We pulled out unfruitful broccoli with battered leaves and a withering cilantro plant that had topped out. We tightened strings holding up staked tomatoes, evicted a few caterpillars, and adjusted the fence that supports our string beans.
We also picked ripe cherry tomatoes, lettuce, onions, beans and a jalapeno pepper.
“This pepper fried up with the onions is going to be good,” my son said as he dropped it into our garden harvest bag.
As we were just about ready to leave, another Green Thumb mom arrived impromptu to take home a head of lettuce for supper. She was on her way home from the grocery store. As we talked, our garden plot neighbor arrived with her granddaughter to satisfy a last-minute decision to pick a zucchini so they could make bread together.
My son and I were so energized and relaxed from our work in the garden that we decided to go to the local high school track for a walk.
“It’s not on the schedule, but this might be our only chance to spend some time outdoors for a while,” I said. Rain clouds thickened in the distance.
Throughout all this crazy weather, we’ve learned that gardeners need to be flexible. Work has to be done, but Mother Nature is in charge of schedules, not Mother Green Thumb’s calendar.