This Week's Podcast: Should I Stay or Should I Go, Now? Flood Update.
Click on the small black arrow on the bar to listen, or the MP3 to download the show:
It is the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. I
was in California when Sandy hit, and could not return to the garden in New
Jersey. But the damage was minimal, there. Not so in Brooklyn where I used to
have a house. My house was in a place called Clinton Hill – Hill is the
operative word. We were spared everything but a big mess and some downed trees
– no water surges.
I was lecturing in Colorado, recently, a
place that had suffered serious flooding, and was asked to update you on my
experiences. As many of you know, my problems happen a year earlier when
Hurricane Irene took a turn to the left and hit my island garden in the
Northwest corner of New Jersey hard. The ground was already saturated that late
summer, and the heavy rains ran off the ground to overflow the rivers and
lakes. Irene was bad with floodwaters up to four feet covering the garden. Some
trees fell right over. When the water receded, I was able to right several
trees – even a 20-foot tall red-leafed peach tree.
After the water receded, I got help from
some friends and hired three guys to clean up what we could. The river
deposited sand with trash and many pieces of saturated wood from twigs to large
sections of trees washed right up onto the damaged open area of lawn.
One week later, Tropical Storm Lee arrived,
and the damage was much worse. The high water remained on the ground for four
The boiler in the basement was toast. All that compost and grass seed was
washed from the places we put it. More soil was gone. In fact, whole parts of
the garden were gone, and other beds were covered with up to two feet of coarse
Two years later, and I’m still shoveling
sand and weeding. The river brought a host of annual weeds I had never seen in
the garden before. My precious canal garden was gone. (Canal garden, before and
after with weeds, above.)
This week, I’ll bring you up to speed. The
future? Who knows with changing climate? Should I stay or should I go, now?
Stay tuned. (Follow this link for a video of the 2011 events.)