The drought in Europe that is intensifying by the minute shows no signs of relenting, but a trip to my allotment revealed that things might not be quite as bad as they seem.
Lettuce from my allotment.
24.08.2022. The sun was already beating down when I arrived at my allotment mid-morning, situated at the far end of the town I live in. On the ground, it was still cool.
I had been worried that my vegetables would have wilted or died, given that I had visited the garden some ten days ago. A trip to a friend made it impossible for me to go to the garden on the weekend, as I usually do.
The garden was in full bloom when I arrived. No signs of drought were evident, apart from a slight yellow tinge to the patch of grass that forms part of my allotment.
It was as if the drought didn’t exist on this little patch of land. Perhaps it didn't.
The pumpkin plants had crept across the allotment and were starting to bear pumpkins, the courgettes were immense, the crops of lettuce were gleaming, and the flowering plants were happily turned to the sun.
It had rained last week, the first rains in weeks. It proved to be enough to leave the soil damp and the plants happy. I need not have worried – nature cares for itself. That’s the first piece of good news.
I also realized that dew had started appearing, the lawn moist as I stepped across it. The little dewdrops were helping the grass slowly turn green again and was helping feed the plants and soil, bit by bit. This, and the fact that I saw earthworms for the first time in months, showed that the seasons were slowly, but surely changing, even if it hadn’t started raining, and even if it remained hot. That is the second piece of good news.
Which lessons can I draw from the garden?
First, nature is more resilient than I believed it to be, even if a bunch of vegetable plants on a patch of land can hardly be called nature. They are perfectly fine in the current conditions – for the moment at least – even though I am worried about the lack of rain. The impact on them is minimal.
Second, the drought, even if it does not disappear with the first bout of rain, will change as the seasons change. As the temperature drops, the effects of a lack of rain and too much sunshine should be less – for life on the ground, in any case.
Lastly, by stepping away from our artificial lives and observing natural life around us, and seeking to understand what we are observing, we can learn much that can either horrify us or help put us at ease.