If you have read one of my earliest posts about my failed attempts to grow capsicum you will understand the thrill I had this season when the very first capsicum seedling I put in the ground was soon weighed down by a real live fruit. Ok, the plant was scrawny, and, in reality quite pathetic, but the fruit was real and I had high hopes that one day soon I would have the chance to pick a home-grown capsicum. YAY! You can tell by the way I am writing in the past tense it that all did not go entirely well, can’t you?
Here in Victoria we have had quite an interesting summer weather-wise. Normally at Xmas time we are crippled with heat induced lethargy, but this year we have barely had time to put on the fan and the weather changes, torrential rain, thunder, wind, then as quickly as it rains it is hot and steamy again. Yuck. The vegies have been loving it though, and so has the lawn. My hopes were getting higher and higher the bigger the capsicum got.
Then it was all over. It hailed. I don’t mean frozen raindrops falling in the garden, I mean chunks of ice plummeting from the heavens. The massing black clouds had driven me outside to get my washing off the line when something smacked into the grass at my feet. I picked it up and saw it was a large and misshapen piece of ice. Never a good sign. I ripped the rest of the washing down in record time and two minutes later all hell broke loose. That was the end of my capsicum, and a good portion of my tomatoes too. Bugger.
We were quite lucky actually, closer to Melbourne the ice was larger and far more destructive and I know that people just a few streets away had their cars dented by the hail. Fortunately it appears that nothing here seems to have been damaged. I was still annoyed though. My vegies were beyond damaged…grrr…… It appears to be my destiny to always eat shop-bought capsicum never home-grown *sniffle*.
The Yarra Valley is full of vineyards and orchards so me losing much of my pitiful excuse for a veg patch to hail is nothing compared to what hail does to real crops. (Here is where I should insert a complaint about the local council restricting the use of hail netting on farms because tourists looking out of their cars as they drive past want to see rolling green hills, not actual farming.)
The five feet of hail that fell on the Tweed District in New South Wales in this article from 1924 is one hell of a drop. Any crops that fell on wouldn’t have only been beaten to death, they would have been completely frozen. I can’t believe the hail was five feet deep in the gullies!