Tennis ball sized hail
A nasty hail storm rolled through Oklahoma yesterday afternoon, leaving thousands of holes punched in roofs and entire parking lots full of shattered windshields. My husband and I have lived in Oklahoma for over 25 years, and have never seen a hailstorm like this, although one rocked the South side of OKC just a week ago. Luckily, we escaped with just a broken garage window, pockmarked car, and oh yeah - completely shredded garden and orchard.
The peaches are a good size at this point, and so we lost at least half of them. Many of the ones still on the trees are now dented, and won't live long. I hope we can still get a good crop from them - if 25% remain, we will still have enough to dry a few to make my son's favorite snack, "peach chips." The apples, plums and persimmons were damaged as well, but those trees aren't as big and neither were the fruits, so the damage was not as extensive.
I'm saddest about my tomatoes, which were all heirloom varieties such as Arkansas Traveler, Black Cherry, and Yellow Pear. They had been in the ground about a month. When I planted them, many of my homegrown ones looked spindly and yellowish. But by yesterday, they had greened up beautifully, grown to about two feet tall, and were setting blooms.
No longer. Now they appear to have been run over with a chainsaw. All 13 are still standing, but they've all lost leaves and limbs, which are now lying dismembered around them on the soil. I've seen plants recover from trauma before. But this? I can only hope. And of course, it wasn't just the tomatoes - but also the broccoli, peppers, salad garden, and beans. Luckily the watermelons, cucumbers and okra really haven't done much, so they will probably recover just fine.
Although I am sad for my own garden, I have to be sadder for all the people who depend on growing food for their income whose crops/gardens/ranches were damaged. What a difficult task raising food will be in the years ahead as fertilizer and gasoline prices increase, as the weather gets weirder and weirder - destroying entire crops, and less financing is available for new startups. Here's to farmers, who brave all this uncertainty to get food to my table. If it weren't for you, I'd be realllllly distraught right about now.