Atop Hawk Mountain, Pa., 2010

Atop Hawk Mountain, Pa., 2010
Photo by R.E. Berg-Andersson

Monday, August 28, 2017

Too Much of a Good Thing

Where do the natives of Tahiti go on vacation?

Our dry, cool, sunny un-August weather in New Jersey is like paradise after our recent, normal heat and humidity, but it may be too much of a good thing and it has me concerned.

Gift tomatoes (Margo D. Beller)
At some point during the expected 10 days without rain, I will have to go out with the hose and the sprinkler so the plants and the lawn don't die. There are two water dishes out for the birds (and the squirrels), and they've been visited frequently.

The peppers prefer heat, not evenings that fall into the 50s, as we've been having out here, so I am not sure if the fruits will ever get big or change from green to their expected ripe colors. 

The people who like the beach had a fine weekend (until the traffic home) and those who stayed home and have a grill and/or an outdoor fireplace enjoyed stinking up the neighborthood using them, too.

We aren't beach people but we did visit friends near the Brooklyn waterfront the other day and the wife's small garden put me to shame. Various tomatoes, cucumbers, ginger root, melons, coneflowers, sunflowers, herbs, all in a space about the size of a postage stamp. 

Like other gardening friends when the harvest is coming in, I got gifts to take home because they had too much of a good thing. That happens this time of year. I've had garden plants foisted on me because they'd otherwise be thrown out. One friend claims he will put a zucchini in every unlocked car he finds in his neighborhood, and I've been given zucchinis that look like green logs. A relative complains she doesn't know what she is going to do with all the fruit and vegetables she's picking. (She is a good cook and canner so I am not worried.)

My produce, in pots rather than in the ground, have it a little tougher because the roots are limited in how far they can grow. Some friends are using the new type of mesh pot that supposedly allows for greater air circulation for the roots and creates happier, fruit-bearing plants.

Gift cucumber, nearly 14 inches long
(Margo D. Beller)
Will my peppers ever grow to the right size? One friend in Delaware complains that all the rain she got this summer created a terrible harvest for her cucumbers and tomatoes. The farmers I've talked to in New Jersey have said the same. Too much rain is as bad as to little.

And yet the farm markets are full of peaches, corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and other produce. Some people are obviously doing a lot of things better than I am.

Meanwhile, our good thing in the northeast is balanced by too much of a bad thing in the rest of the country.

In California. there are major forest fires. In Texas, Hurricane Harvey strengthened into a Category 4 hurricane thanks to the abnormal warmth of the Gulf of Mexico before slamming into the barrier islands, which should've limited the damage but there are people living on them, and so there is damage. The continued rain has devastated Houston. The rain in Texas is being measured in feet, not inches.

Too much dry, sunny weather in NJ, a mega-hurricane flooding Texas. Global warming? You tell me.