It has been a rough time in the garden! There was warmth, but not as much as predicted. This morning it was 39°F when I was recording the weather. I had planned on going outside to put some herbs in the ground, but I was not dressed for those temperatures so I decided to wait a bit for the sun. However, the other defining feature of the week’s weather kicked in before the sun did much warming. This week has been windy! The kind of gusty swirling forcefulness that picks up dirt and pollen and small stray animals and tosses it all in your face. There are dust devils meandering everywhere. You can see when cars are driving up the hills, following the progression of dirt clouds above the trees. And everybody has a drippy nose and jam-packed sinuses from all the allergens being thrown around.
I got the herbs that were to be planted this morning back on Wednesday evening. I intended to plant them right away, but it was so windy, I didn’t think they’d survive the transplanting. I put them in the lee of the house where they are mostly protected, but they still look bedraggled. I’m beginning to worry. Even my potted pansies back behind the house are looking limply frazzled by the wind. But the herb bed is in the sunniest part of the property, meaning it’s also the most exposed to wind. If the new herbs can’t handle the occasional blasts of air that wrap all the way around the house, then they’re just going to up and die in the unsheltered herb bed.
Because it’s also been very dry. No rain, and also very low humidity with all this wind. Yesterday, Weather Underground reported 30% humidity at 7:30am, and it continued to get drier throughout the day. This morning it was a bit more moist at 59%, but still drier than New England spring should be, and now it’s right back down to desert at 23%. This means that any moisture in the surface layers of soil is being sucked out into the air. It means that much of the water that I am hauling across the street to the veg beds in the relatively calm evening hours is evaporating within 24 hours, doing no good in the garden at all. It means that plants are losing moisture to the air much faster than they can pull it out of the ground. This is stressful not just for the infant seedlings and newbie transplants in my garden, but also for the mature trees that are waking up and using their reserved stores of water, nutrients and energy to create hundreds of leaves — all of which wick moisture into the air.
The weather is also stressful for me. The wind exacerbates the cold, making my arthritis extra uncomfortable. But it’s also just annoying. I turn around and get a face-full of grit blown into my eyes. I can’t keep my hair out of my face. I have to maintain a firm grip on seed packets or they’re just gone. Seeds themselves? I’m sure if I were to plant something smaller than sunflower seeds in this wind, it would all sail off to the Atlantic.
This is not unusual New England weather. I’ve experienced weeks of unending flying dirt, when you can’t open windows without creating hours of cleaning work for yourself, when the continuous clang of wind chimes gives you a headache, when even the crows are loudly complaining about being blown off course. But it is very unusual for May. Except for the cold, this is August weather. We’re all victims of hay fever, and there isn’t even any hay yet. There is pollen though! The skies are yellow with it. I suspect it’s mostly maple, but there is also a good deal of pine and juniper (Eastern red cedar); and those are miserable allergens. Plus dirt itself annoys the mucus membranes enough to cause runny eyes and stuffed noses.
So central Vermont is grumpy right now. Grumpy and coughing and sneezing. And cold. And perplexed as to why this all is happening in May.
It’s enough to make even a garden zealot want to curl up indoors with a cuppa tea and a good book…
Which is about what is happening. I did the necessary work and then retreated.
The herbs will have to wait.
Elizabeth Anker 2023
3 thoughts on “The Daily: 15 May 2023”
Hello Eliza, I am on the opposite side of the world, experiencing local weather which is far from our usual. In Mackay QLD, we should be cooling down as we head into winter, however our minimum and maximum temperatures are constantly above average, with them swinging quite wildly at times. Our Autumn has really been just an extension of Summer. The biggest anomaly however is the humidity, with its percentages rarely leaving the 80’s and 90’s. Overnight and early mornings are the worst, as the wind drops off, the humidity just climbs and climbs. I echo your sentiments exactly. Why is this happening in May?
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I am on the opposite side of the world, experiencing local weather which is far from our usual. In Mackay QLD, we should be cooling down as we head into winter, however our minimum and maximum temperatures are constantly above average, with them swinging quite wildly at times. Our Autumn has really been just an extension of Summer. The biggest anomaly however is the humidity, with its percentages rarely leaving the 80’s and the 90’s. Overnight and early mornings are the worst, as the wind drops off, the humidity just climbs and climbs. I echo your sentiments exactly. Why is this happening in May!!
In my part of the world – South Africa – we swing from high summer temperatures for a day or two then plummet to winter shivers. We even got an unexpected bout of rain – not that we’re complaining about that!
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