Even though we are still considered to be in a long-term drought, 2012 has begun on a wet note. January and February have brought a good measure of moisture to dry, dry Southeast Texas and to my garden, and, to a lesser degree, to other parts of the parched state. It has been a blessed relief to thirsty plants and to the depleted aquifers and reservoirs.
The meteorologists tell us that we are still under the influence of La Nina which generally brings dry weather and probably does not bode well for our long-term prospects. All the more reason to get those rain barrels and other water collectors in place while the rain is still falling so that we will have water for our plants - water that we don't have to pay for - when the going gets drier.
There is a possibility of rain in the forecast for this week. Already the soil in my garden is beginning to dry out from our last downpour, so another infusion of moisture would be most welcome. Moreover, I am intending to plant some vegetables this week, including putting into the ground the tomato and eggplant plants that I started from seed in January and rain would be very helpful for them.
I feel silly about even considering putting these plants out so early, but I really doubt that we are going to have any more freezing weather, and, if we do, I have plenty of freeze blankets so I can just wrap them up. And I have learned to my sorrow in the last two years just how important it is to get those tomato plants going as soon as possible. Once the temperatures get to be consistently above 90 degrees, the plants begin to shut down production, and 90 degree weather seems to come earlier and earlier every year. My tomato crops in 2010 and 2011 were a bust, but I have high hopes for these plants.
I'm trying five heirloom varieties of tomatoes this spring: 'Black Krim', 'Rutgers', 'Reisentraube', 'Cherokee Purple', and 'Mortgage Lifter'. With any luck at all, I hope to see some good production from these old types. "Luck" would include an end to drought and a continuation of the wet trend that has held through January and February. Time will tell...