COMMON SENSE: Bring on the hot, sunny weather (2024)

You can blame it on me.

I said we were getting a little dry in April and we needed rain.

Well, we’ve gotten it. The problem is that now it won’t quit. Sometimes it seems that we haven’t seen a really sunny day in weeks. I have recorded measurable precipitation 15 of the first 18 days of this month. I’ve got mildew in my underwear.

I have been lucky because my garden got just dry enough to get in there and till out the weeds that were starting to pop up. If not for three days of “relatively” dry weather, they would have gotten ahead of me. I’ve had that happen in years past and it is no fun trying to catch up.

What my summer garden needs now is hot, sunny weather with warm nights. The roots on plants like watermelons and tomatoes are firmly established in the soil and are ready to take off. They just need sun and heat.

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Of course, the last two weeks of cooler weather have been just perfect for spring crops like potatoes and beets. The potatoes started blooming about a week ago and once I got rid of the groundhog and the rabbits that were eating the tops, the beets began looking great.

I should be eating new potatoes — both red and white — next week. We had a couple of 86-degree days the first of this month and that’s all it took to get the Colorado potato beetles active. The minute I saw the first hatching I was spraying Colorado Potato Beetle Beater (an organic agent by Bonide) and that took care of them, at least until the incessant rains came. I’ll probably need to spray one more time.

Three times I set out cabbage plants and each time the late groundhog found them. I have one cabbage plant left in my garden and it is too late to plant more. Maybe this fall.

I plowed my peas under. For the first time in decades, they did nothing. Only about half the seeds I planted came up and they refused to grow, getting only about three inches tall. I was not about to waste space, so I replanted zucchini and tomatoes where the three rows of peas were.

The green beans are doing well and hopefully will come in late June. Last week I planted two more rows that should mature after July 4.

I got a good stand of Golden Queen corn the first time around and I am planting two more rows this week and two more two weeks from now. That way I should have some roasting ears for a month or so when the corn comes in.

I am about finished staking my tomatoes. I usually have that done by now, but the soil has just been too wet to get in there. Farmers can never win. Last year I was irrigating to save my crops during the drought. This year I worry about getting them worked because of too much rain. Given my choice, the dry years (to a point) are better because I can control the water. I can’t control the rain.

Farmers face a constant battle with nature. So far, I have fought rain, groundhogs, rabbits, squirrels (getting my cherries) and potato bugs. When the corn matures, I’ll fight raccoons and crows. The coons also get into my watermelon patch, the deer will eat my beans and the foxes love the cantaloupes.

On top of that, there is a bear in the neighborhood again (mama kicks the juveniles out about this time every year and they start roaming). Six or seven years ago I had to use a broomstick to chase one out of my corn.

Gimme a break!

The rain has made everything bloom and this has been a banner year for pollen. Trust me, I know. I sneeze for about five minutes every day, especially when the oak trees in my yard are in bloom.

The pollen has been so bad that it was clogging the filter on my daughter’s pool. But then, that’s spring.

Last year there was no hay but fine haymaking weather. This year there is plenty of hay but no drying weather. And some lowlands are still to wet to plant corn.

So, enough with the rain. Let’s have some sun and 90-degree temperatures so my watermelons and tomatoes can grow.

That’s what I’m waiting for, those hot summer days, 80-degree nights, tomato sandwiches and cold watermelon. That’s real summer.

Bring it on!

Donnie Johnston’s columns appear twice per week on the Opinion page. Reach him at



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COMMON SENSE: Bring on the hot, sunny weather (2024)


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