As a kid our evenings were scheduled around the news broadcast. More specifically, Mum needed total silence to watch the last two minutes: the weather. Mum was interested in farming weather not gardening weather but her commitment to watching the forecast has been passed on to her children. As a family we routinely swap updates from our different parts of the world on how the temperature or rain is doing. We all have multiple weather apps and follow weather groups on social media.
Since planting the veggie garden my interest in gardening weather has escalated. It seems that the garden and I do not always agree on what constitutes the best meteorological conditions. Case in point: it has been raining solidly for two days. Yesterday we recorded 90mm of rain and it kept going through the night. Coming off the back of a severe drought, from the garden’s perspective, this is undoubtably good gardening weather. Here’s the thing though: I have been watching my potatoes closely waiting for the moment when they would be ready to harvest. That moment came about an hour before the rain started. For my convenience then, this is definitely not good gardening weather.
The problem, it seems to me, isn’t about perfect gardening weather so much as the difference between how I imagine perfect gardening weather to be (think Timotei Adverts) and how our climate actually is. In winter I find it’s too cold and too dry. I like to look at the garden from behind the windows but not be in it. I dream about summer storms and being able to walk through the garden barefoot in the early morning feeling the dew between my toes.
I race through Spring, impatient for the rains and the plants to get going. Come on summer, I think.
When summer finally rolls round, though, it’s too hot. Sunscreen mixed with sweat gets into my eyes leaving me red-eyed, sweaty and annoyed. I resent having to get up early to garden before the heat. By afternoon, when its cooler, I find my energy sapped and too often a storm blows in to thwart my efforts. I dream about the chill of winter and drinking hot cups of post gardening coffee.
And I ruin the luxurious days of Autumn by mourning the end of summer and worrying about the cold that is coming.
Philosophically I know that it is all perfect gardening weather, because it’s the weather I’ve got. In reality though, I reserve the right (like gardeners everywhere) to complain. Too hot? I’ll grumble and get up early. Too dry: I’ll grumble and add mulch. Too cold? I’ll grumble and put on a coat. And today? Today the weather is perfect: I’m grumbling and putting on my wellies.