Three minutes of mayhem

Hail

What at first seemed like a mild three-minute hail storm this afternoon did an impressive amount of crop damage right across the market garden. One of those sudden, short storms that’ve been popping up more or less several times a day built up, rain started to come down quite heavily, this time with a sharp wind, and after a couple of minutes, HAIL joined the action. I went out to check on the trays of seedlings sitting outside the Milkhouse: you could hardly feel the ice pellets on bare arms and the seedlings didn’t seem bothered by the brief pounding. The pellets were pea-sized, in two configurations: smooth, and jagged (the sample in the pic is from a few minutes after the storm ended, with the sharper edges on the rougher pieces already melted off). The hail soon stopped, a few minutes later the rain ended and…sunshine. Great! Not particularly concerned, I went out to inspect (we’ve had small hail a couple of times with absolutely no plant effect that I could notice). Well, SURPRISE!

Hail hits squash

Crops with fairly large leaves, the squash here and more mature beets, had leaf edges sliced and holes punched right through.

Hail hits beets

Snapped stems was the most surprising effect. Here, beets were pummeled…

Hail hits beans

…beans were also quite heavily hit, with severed tops of plants lying in the paths…

Hail hits tomatoes

…and tomatoes took a good hit as well. I didn’t closely examine the developing fruit, like tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. It looks like there’s some bruising, but I’ll wait a couple of days when any damage will be easier to spot. Overall, not the end of the world, but a definite setback…not welcome.

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5 Responses to “Three minutes of mayhem”

  1. adekun says:

    I’ll add another wow. The tomatoes look like they really got clobbered.

  2. cathy says:

    wow……..i’m really sorry about your crops
    the same thing happened down here in southern ontario 2 weeks ago and in the thedford vegetable grounding area a week ago.
    the weather has become our major challenge after 25 years of organic farming…..
    not the weeds!!!!(that’s just takes more labour)…not the insects ( if the plants are healthy and not stressed ..the beneficials keep things in balance) and definitely not the demand …..we can’t keep up to the demand for local organic products
    i feel we are like a toy that our daughters had when they were young…….. a rolly polly clown that you couldn’t drop over no matter how many things you hit it………………………….but evenually “the clown” gets old and worn out!!!!!

  3. Matthias says:

    Hi Mike,

    Sorry to hear about your crops.  We had the same thing happen here back in Mid June, plants will bounce back though.  Should make for interesting conversation for you CSA customers.  “Hey you see these holes in the spinach?  Hail hit my farm last week!”  A little more interesting then the standard supermarket fare.

    Keep on truckin’

    Matt

  4. Meg says:

    ugh. Your poor tomatoes! We weathered a similar hail storm last weekend and, happily, everything is growing along just fine despite tattered leaves. Since vegetables still grow like crazy in August, hopefully you guys will have a quick recovery time after a bit of cleanup. I’ll keep my fingers crossed!

  5. Daisy says:

    I agree with Matt… definitely makes for more interesting fare than what you’d find at the supermarket!  Good luck with hail recovery!

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