La Canicula

“Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.”
? Bob Marley

The Cánicula by Juan Jardinero

For gardeners and farmers alike, rain is something you yearn. With it, life comes. You can water all you want, but the nutrients and depth obtained by a good rain is incomparable. In this area of the world, around the month of May, when the days get longer and the heat and humidity in the atmosphere create the conditions for rain, gardeners are ready to seed and plant. In a few days the entire landscape will complete change. The mountains turn green, the corn and other vegetables quickly break through the soil, making way for all sorts of greenery on your land.
However there is something like too much rain; those violent downpours in the late afternoons that dump buckets of rainwater in a matter of seconds, also bring flooding and destruction for small seedlings and plants growing around your garden. To prevent this you can build deep beds and mulch heavily to prevent flooding and damaging of your crops. Also all this rain will encourage the growth of weeds that will then attract more insects, some of these beneficial; and others that will feast on your crops.
So as you are trying to read your land and find that unique balance of precipitation and sun, nature provides a dry break during the rainy season called LA CANICULA. This is by far my favorite time of year, beautiful sunny days with clouds scattered around the sky. Gardens and country side are lush and green. This meteorological phenomenon, which usually begins a few days after the summer solstice, has been predictable and limited to 4 to 6 weeks, with an increase in heat and almost no rain. And while La Canicula permits more outdoor activities and summerlike weather any increment in the amount of dry days can bring great loss to farmers.
Last year in Guatemala the Canicula lasted almost two months. For farmers who had learned to plant and prepare for a shorter Canicula this meant great lose and serious stunting of their crops due to the lack of rain. It seems this year we are headed for the same type kind of scenario. However little has been done on the country side to prepare. As our weather conditions become more drastic, farmers must apply prevention techniques to capture the highest amount of water on their land while also favoring drought resisting plants.
Here are a few drought-resisting techniques:
– Build swales and deep paths around your beds that will capture and retain rain water when available.
– Favor drought-resistant plants.
– Design your space, grouping plants according to their water requirements.
– Favor abundance and plant diversity.
– Mulch heavily, this will hold moisture in the soil a lot better
Hopefully some of these ideas will prevent your garden from drying up, but in the meantime put away your rain gear and enjoy this wonderful Canicula weather.

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