September 7, 2022

The Positive Side Of Drought

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If you grew up in Massachusetts, you probably know Dave Epstein. Ayr’s family listened to him on WBUR for years and years. A meteorologist and gardening guru, he has been sharing weather and gardening wisdom in the Boston area for over 30 years!! 

Clover is partnering with Dave – the information he shares, the stories he tells, and his whole philosophy is really in line with everything Clover is about! Here’s a piece he wrote for us about drought – if you’re reading this and loving it let us know!! We’d love to share more from Dave 🙂

(By the way – Dave is no longer giving the weather forecast on WBUR but he does have 2 wonderful podcasts that you should check out. Weather Wisdom is a super quick, almost-daily episode on local weather. Growing Wisdom is his podcast on home gardening, vegetables, and more.)

It was a dry summer across much of New England in stark contrast to a year ago when it was one of the wettest. Even with the rain this week official drought conditions are likely to continue in many areas although the severity is decreasing. Many communities will likely continue to implement water bans, some trees and shrubs have been damaged or killed and for gardeners and farmers watering is taking a lot of time. All is not gloom and doom however, there is a silver lining to the lack of rain.

It’s important to remember drought is a common occurrence in New England  happening every few years.  Climate change can make these regular fluctuations more impactful, but drought itself is actually not increasing. You might be spending more time than you’d like keeping your plants alive so let’s look at the positive side of this summer’s dryness.

Many of our fruits and vegetables taste so good because of the natural sugars that occur in them. Whether it’s peaches or grapes, tomatoes or peppers, the lack of rain is helping to concentrate the natural sweetness of many vegetables. I’ve noticed an enormous difference in the way my own tomatoes taste this year compared to last.  The stone fruits have also been particularly sweet.  Find a local source to enjoy these this year.. Another benefit of the drought is the lack of diseases hitting our plants. Clover’s farmers report carrots, for example, have not seen the severity of disease of the summer of 2021. Tomatoes, which are highly susceptible due to a multitude of fungi and bacteria are also faring much better this season.

Now, this isn’t to say we want drought every year because if that were the case we would start running into major water issues similar to what they see out in the western part of the USA. However here in New England our droughts when they do occur are much shorter-lived and don’t cause the long-term problems seen in places like California, Arizona and Texas.

In an ideal world we’d have regular rainfall followed by regular periods of dry weather but New England tends to be a region of extremes. Since we can’t control the weather we might as well enjoy the benefit of this dry summer and take a bite of some of the best of the September harvest.

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