A Summer Like I’ve Never Experienced Before
During the last year, my region (southwestern Slovenia) received only about 30–40% of annual mean precipitation. The lack of rain has been especially pronounced in the last two or three months. Potato crops are failing, fruit trees are dropping their fruits prematurely, and some of them are going yellow, like in autumn.
This is not only the result of the lack of rain; it is equally due to abnormal temperatures, one heat wave after another. The heat is often accompanied by bora winds, which steal even more moisture from the ground and the plants. For the past two weeks, going outside felt like stepping into a baking oven with ventilation turned on. At that rate, the wind is no longer refreshing. Instead, it makes the heat all the worse.
I don’t remember it ever being like that. Until 2020 the summers were obviously hot, but not that hot and certainly not as dry. The rain did come every now and then, and the heat was bearable. Eventually, we’d also experience a heatwave, but not necessarily every year and not that severe. 2021 was different, and this year only underlines the trend double-fold.
The summer of 2021 marks another shift that I can only now describe fully. Until then, gardening and farming was done in partnership with nature. Keeping an eye on the weather report, one could figure out ideal days for sowing, planting, weeding, and the rest. Sowing and re-planting are usually done a day before the rain so that young seedlings get a boost from the natural weather.
Well, if the rain never comes, when will you plant?
Now, gardening doesn’t feel like surfing on the weather wave anymore. It instead feels like a battle against it. If you want something to grow, you must combat the forces of nature, which is an entirely different mindset. A garden or a field shouldn’t be a battlefield, goddammit. We’re not Monsanto, are we?
And then, I take a look outside, and I can feel how the plants struggle to survive. These are not those happy plants we see in photos; they don’t dance under the sun, and they aren’t reaching for the skies thrivingly. They are barely making it. They look like patients in the palliative…