hail2013.jpgWelcome to our third annual hail post! Why bother writing about hail AGAIN? Well, interestingly, the way we try to work in our gardens after a major hail storm can vary depending on the timing of the storm – when, in the growing season, it occurs. Looking back, the 2011 hail post was written in early July; last year’s was in mid-June. And here we are, in late August 2013, just starting to toy with the idea that we might have escaped major hail this year. But no……

Parts of central Colorado Springs saw quite a bit of hail early last week (on Aug 12), leaving my garden with the tell-tale scent of shredded cilantro and mint, and then a very large, serious thunderstorm yesterday dropped hail as large as golfballs in neighborhoods to the north (my garden, luckily, was spared). And in between those two dates, many smaller storms dropped hail over several places in Colorado Springs. (more…)

HAILSTORM2.jpgYes, folks. It is that time again. Well it may even be a few days late, but it’s time for our Annual Hail Post.

Often we hear about “gardening with wildlife,” “gardening with children,” “gardening with pets,” etc, but here in the Pikes Peak Region, we also have to get used to “gardening with hail.” There has not been a summer that I’ve lived here (over twenty years now) that we haven’t had hail. And most summers, some parts of our region get super severe hail.

June 6 and 7 brought major hail and rain to the section of Colorado Springs near Citadel Mall and just to the north and east of there. News reports showed cars submerged to their windshields in water and hail. Absolutely amazing (and dangerous!). So of course, homeowners in that area lost entire landscapes. Not surprisingly, the post receiving the most hits at this blog this past week is one of our old favorites, “Hail Protection for the Veggie Garden.” (more…)

hail_driveway.jpgInevitably, gardeners in our area will have to deal with hail at some point in the growing season. Our area is so large and spread out that weather can be highly localized though. So rarely would the entire Pikes Peak region suffer from a hail storm all at once! No, we all politely take our turns.

This past weekend, it was the downtown and west side’s turn to experience a pretty heavy hail storm (Saturday, July 2). The hail was only about dime-sized (only!), but there was enough of it to shred many of our plants’ leaves. As I stepped outside after the hail was done (or so I thought – another round came about fifteen minutes later), I marveled at the fresh smell of cilantro and mint mingling together. I used a snow shovel to clear the hail and debris off the deck and walk as well as to shovel water off the driveway and into my beds. (Yes, you really can shovel water with certain snow shovels.) (more…)

Q: My gardens have gotten quite a bit of hail damage this past week. Help!

A: Sigh…one weather phenomenon that is nearly guaranteed in our area is hail. Though it seems to occur most often in late summer (usually when those tomatoes are just starting to ripen), it can show up any time between April and October, and we’ve had quite a bit of it over the past week. As with most weather events, hail storms can be quite localized. One area of town can get enough hail to require snowplows while other parts won’t see hail at all. And some years, certain parts of town seem to get pummeled more times than seems fair! Residents of western parts of the county and far eastern parts of the county both claim to receive more than their fair share of hail every year. Living downtown does seem to sometimes be an advantage when it comes to hail.

What can local gardeners do about hail? You must learn to love your hail. Ok, just kidding! We certainly cannot control whether hail happens or not, but we can make wise plant choices, provide protection for those plants we must have that aren’t hail resistant, and know how to deal with the damage that comes after a particularly destructive hail storm. (more…)