It’s been dry up here — so dry that even the most taciturn Mainers have actually remarked on it. We might get the light spritz from the morning fog, or a very heavy dew, but real rain has been rare over the past weeks.
Until yesterday, that is. Yesterday, we got one of those long, soaking rains, where the clouds seem to be especially low to the ground and just hover overhead, content to drop their watery contents onto the ground below. It was the kind of incessant, day-long rain that knocks a few leaves from the trees and produces big puddles on rocks and gravel driveways. And today and tomorrow we are supposed to get more of the same.
You can’t overstate the value of a good soaking for the plants. Watering is nice, and even essential when it has been especially dry, but it is a limited form of relief from the dryness. The best thing about a good soak is the continuous nature of the rainfall, with the earlier rain moistening the soil and making it more receptive to the raindrops to come. That’s why a good soak always leaves the plants looking better than a passing thunderstorm that might deposit a lot of rain that simply sluices off the hard-baked ground. With a good soak, you know the rain is really reaching the deeper ground and plant roots.
And another good thing about a good soak is that it means there’s no need for repeatedly filling up the watering can and hauling it to those remote places that are beyond the reach of your hose.
As a kid, I hated the good soak days, which seemed to unfairly cut into summer vacation. Now, as somebody who’s just working from home anyway and is interested in seeing some plants do well, I welcome the good soaking days. I’ll be interested in seeing how the plants have fared when the rainfalls end and the sun comes out again.