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The weather forecasters are calling for rain today and tomorrow across most of Ohio and I sincerely hope they’re right.

We need it — badly in some places — and we’ll take every bit we can get.

This is my second year growing an “urban garden,” and while it pales in comparison to what farmers have at stake — I’m still seeing some delays and even a few losses due to the dry spring we’ve had. My onions and radishes got off to a good start, but I’ve had to water everything on my own most of May and early June.

My green beans were planted the week of May 20 and just recently came up, thanks to my efforts to water them twice a week.

My pepper plants have been out two-three weeks now, as well, and if I hadn’t kept them watered, I’m afraid they would be completely wilted by now.

If you grow a garden or an “urban garden” like me, I’m sure you’re experiencing the same thing.

Can’t beat rain!

I am always amazed, however, what a difference a good steady rain makes compared to what I can do on my own. I can pour a 1/4 inch of water over a plant twice a week — but when it rains the same amount, the plant grows so much better.

I heard once that the rain water is better because it’s more acidic, and helps provide nutrients for acid-loving plants. I’m sure that’s part of the reason, but I also think it has to do with the volume of water. While I can pour a quarter of an inch over some plants, I’m usually not covering the entire plot — just the area nearest the roots. And, when it rains — at least during a steady rain — you have the advantage of a constant watering, which allows the soil and plant to absorb the water over a greater stretch of time.

Those are just some of my theories, but I know one thing, when we finally get some rain, gardens and field crops are going to take off! I’m surprised how green and strong the corn actually looks, given how abnormally dry it’s been this spring and I can only imagine how much better it will look in another week, if we get an inch or so of rain.

Ahead of usual

I took my dad to the Malabar Farm Restaurant Saturday night for Father’s Day, in Richland County, and I was amazed how quickly the wheat crop is progressing. It’s rapidly turning color, and if we get a good rain, I would think that will help it ripen even sooner. We could easily see the combines rolling yet this month, which is about two weeks ahead of most years in northern Ohio.

In mid-May, my hometown of Wooster was fortunate to get a couple rainfalls that other people missed. One of the farmers who follows me on twitter joked that I must be a better rain dancer than him, because he desperately wanted some rain, too.

Actually, I’m not much of a dancer. But if we get the long-overdue soaking we need, I think a lot of farmers in Ohio will be dancing — even if it’s only on the inside.

Chris Kick lives in Wooster, Ohio. An American FFA Degree recipient, he holds a bachelor’s in creative writing from Ashland University. He spends his free time on his grandparents’ farms in Wayne and Holmes counties.
Chris Kick
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