The last few days have been marred by a major storm that wiped out much of the state last Friday. I’m only mentioning it here for documentation purposes. I’m tired of thinking about it, tired of talking about it and certainly tired of living it!
So in short, this intense derecho hit town around 9pm on Friday night. The temperatures hit 102 in Staunton that day – and even higher down south. I don’t know the physics of this kind of storm, but I’m sure the wind intensity was directly correlated to the extreme heat on our side of the frontal system. The winds went from zero to nearly 60 in a matter of seconds, gusting up to 80 mph (equivalent to a category 1 hurricane). I’m not sure if it would have been as scary had we been given any notice. But having something sneak up like that would frighten the most brave of souls. I am not brave.
Fortunately, the storm passed within 90 minutes or so, leaving much of the state without electricity and with unbelievable property damage. My poor backyard was not spared. I’ve never cleaned up from when the cherry tree fell after a storm a few months ago, and now you can barely find it. See the fallen tree in the background? My veggie boxes are somewhere underneath that mess. That poor garden was doomed from the beginning! The trees belong to my neighbor, so her insurance should cover the clean-up costs. I’m hoping that won’t notice that the cherry tree was from a previous storm and take care of that as well. A girl can dream.
Honestly, I’m really not thinking much about the backyard. I didn’t want to deal with it this summer, and this is the mother of all excuses to avoid it. My real concern is the veggie garden. I worked so hard to get it up and running, and it really took a beating. The trellis overturned and yanked several of the cucumber plants out of the ground and crushed the squash plants. Their leaves are so fragile, they didn’t have a chance. I removed most of the damaged leaves, leaving the fruit and stems exposed to extreme heat. I realize that squash are pretty resilient, but what happened amazed me. They simply grew full sets of new leaves in the overnight hours. Now, that’s some impressive healing powers, I’d say.
I lost a few cucumber plants, but I think I’ll have enough fruit from the remaining plants to make it through the summer. The vines were splayed every which way, so I pulled them back on the trellis and gingerly wrapped their tendrils around the string. They took hold immediately and don’t look any worse for wear. I’ll wait a few days before claiming victory, but I’m feeling pretty good about them.
The tomatoes, too, were battered and broken. I may have to cut them back a bit, but I’m hoping they’ll rebound. I even made little splints for a couple of the vines that had snapped. The leaves and flowers didn’t seem to notice that the vines were broken, so I figured there must be enough juice running through their veins to keep them alive. I’ve got several clusters of fruits and would be so sad if I lost them now.
Enough of this depressing post. I’m going to spend some time in the garden tomorrow (July 4th) and provide a little extra TLC. And after a few nights of solid sleep, I’m hoping this ordeal will be forgotten.