The first six months of this year have been the driest 'first six months' of any year since about 1970 and don't I know it!
One of my ancestors - a great grandfather or 2 x great uncle or some such - was a market gardener back in the days of Queen Victoria. He would not have had the benefit of modern inventions to produce his own micro-climates and would, like me, have been at the mercy of the vagaries of the weather. The difference is that he grew vegetables as a way of making his living whereas for me it is more of a hobby. The fact that my parsnip seeds failed to germinate this year is an irritation, not a disaster. No, wait a minute. The seeds have not completely failed to germinate. Two did. My garlic seemed to be coming along very nicely, but all of a sudden the plants have collapsed and now I have just three which might, just might, come to something. At least the runner beans and the first sowing of peas look as though they will produce a crop.
I have picked most of the blackcurrants this week, leaving a little under a quarter of the crop to finish ripening. We have just the one bush, but it produces enough fruit to last us through the year. I also picked three raspberries yesterday. Since they are supposed to be an autumn fruiting variety, coming on stream in September, that is a little early. Mind you, I gave some roots to my friend Tony two or three years back and he has already eaten two bowls of raspberries and cream for dessert!
Mrs BP and I went strawberry picking yesterday morning at a farm a few miles north. The fruit was so plentiful that in just 15 or 20 minutes we had moved only about 5 yards and picked three or four pounds - enough for Mrs to make this year's jam (we don't eat much of it) and leave enough fruit over for dessert on three days or so.
But I still want rain - a couple of days of steady, gentle rainfall - to liven things up. The water butt is bone dry, something I have never known at this time of the year, and I am putting on the hose (on the veg only) every couple of evenings. Can anybody give me the steps of the rain dance?