As my memory serves me, May is always pretty rainy. Two years ago as my husband and I were planning for our early June, outdoor wedding I remember getting to the end of May after nearly 30 days straight rainshowers and wondering if I’d made a mistake not planning for anything but the perfect sunny day. As luck would have it, our wedding was the first day in more than a month the rain passed over. We said our vows out in the pasture, under the most welcome sun rays I can ever remember.
This May has brought a similar amount of clouds and precipitation, but with flood-level downpours included. After nearly 4 days of nearly non-stop pouring rains, flooding of local rivers and creeks, and some crazy winds it has finally slowed down. We’ve even gotten the occasional cloud break letting the sun have a go at pouring some rays.
Our garden beds held up swimmingly (ha, ha!) with no ponding, washouts, or other issues you might expect from record rainfall. A testament to the work we put into the soil. It both managed drainage and kept our plants nourished despite the near endless days of cloud cover. But with every triumph awaits a challenge and this time it’s been slugs. Prior to all of this I noticed the wild birds would forage through the garden beds throughout the day, eating bugs and probaby slugs. Even in weeks of more sane levels of moisture I hadn’t noticed an enormous amount of pest activity. Bring on the floodlevel rains and the birds tend to stay up in the trees more. The slugs had a true hay day in our greens bed. Near decimating our beautiful chard, very young spinach, and lettuces. Each leaf torn through like it was the last supper. One by one I picked them off. We elected to use an organic slug bait as well because I just didn’t think we’d have a fighting chance otherwise. It’s acute care, really, with the hope that as the weather resettles the birds can manage the few slugs that come on after this onslaught.
As I write, we’re about a week out from that madness. The slug activity has slowed as I’d imagined it would. Clouds loom today, with a few welcome breaks of sun. My basil starters have taken off so I added those to the beds this morning in place of the bolting radish that’s clearly over this wack weather. As I picked through each of the beds I noticed flea beetles on the eggplant starters. I’m trying out an all-natural DIY spray mixture recommended by Farmers Almanac and will write about the outcome as it unfolds. Hoping I’ve caught it quick enough that they don’t become a big problem. I’ve got a few more basil coming in that I’ll probably plant parallel to the eggplant in the hopes that it prevents the flea beetles from spreading too far. As I’ve said before, always a dance this gardening business. Sometimes it’s elegant and other times it’s more like running barefoot across hot coals.