"How high's the water, mama?"

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“Five feet high and risin’…” Actually, the Arkansas River at Toad Suck Lock and Dam was 271.2 feet this morning, and with more rain on the way, it’s expected to rise another eight feet before the end of the week. Unfortunately, this means continued flooding for already saturated areas. Needless to say, it’s been tough on farmers and gardeners alike.

The Urban Farm Project flooded twice over the last several weeks. The water table is so high that even if we get a half inch or more of rain, we’re liable to have standing water in places. We have raised beds, which provide some protection, but our garlic is pretty sad-looking from setting in all that water. In spite of the rain, we’re still harvesting kale, spinach and lettuces and have recently enjoyed various herbs like cilantro, parsley, sage, dill and mint. Our sugar snap peas and strawberries are also prolific, and many of our tomato and pepper plants are producing (no ripe fruit, though). We hope to finally plant okra soon. It’ll have to be a late season for some things.

The Faulkner County Library and the Urban Farm Project hosted our fourth annual Backyard Gourmet on May 16th. We served meat and veggie pies, and many folks in the community brought salads and desserts. There was live music, dancing, and fun activities like screen printing t-shirts and face painting. Folks of all ages had so much fun painting birdhouse gourds that we decided to make it an annual tradition (we ordered some more seeds—now if we can just get them planted!).

Now’s the best time to view Saturn. It’s visible from dusk 'til dawn, and Venus and Jupiter are visible for part of the night. The first quarter moon also is tonight. It’ll be close to the bright star Regulus, but it's doubtful anyone in Conway will be able to see it due to the incoming rain and storms.

Here’s a simple recipe for making sugar snap peas. They’re a nice addition to most meals.

Until next time, happy (wet) gardening!

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