Thursday, May 22, 2014

Oh, hail!

"All hail broke loose!"

What a beautiful late-spring day—sunny, temperature reaching into the upper 80s by mid-afternoon, with a touch of humidity reminding us that summer will soon arrive at Meadow Glenn here in Central Maryland.

About 3 p.m., the sky clouded over.  By 3:30 hail—big pieces of hail—started dropping here and there as the temperature plummeted within minutes to 70.  Soon our gardens became a war zone—with pellets the size of dimes punching through rhubarb leaves, blenderizing young Red Sails lettuce plants, and ripping leaves off tomato plants. 
Blenderized Red Sails lettuce plants

One of our garage doors was open, and nickel-size hailstones bounced the full length of the garage and stopped at the kitchen door.  What if our cars had been outside?

By 4:20 the sun was shining brightly again.  The hail was rapidly melting as the thermometer crept into the high 70s and thunder faded as the storm clouds headed east.  I checked releases by the National Weather Service, and they reported hail the size of “quarters” and “gold balls.”  I’m glad the storm exited here before the hail became the size of “bricks.”

It’s time to wait and see what happens with our damaged garden plants.  I hope our tomato plants—and our lettuce too—will recover.  I think the tomatoes will recover nicely—but the lettuce plants are so damaged they may have to releaf from their roots.

Damaged Sungold tomato plant

In our gardens I could find only one survivor of the storm—a Garden Gnome riding a tortoise that some suspect is Testudo, the official mascot of the University of Maryland.   I posed a question to the unhappy Garden Gnome:  “What was it like out in the storm?”

The Gnome simply replied, “All hail broke loose!”

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