As I tromp through my soggy garden wearing my bright green “wellies,” ankle-deep in mud, I survey the stunted bean plants, dead or dying bottom leaves of the tomato plants, and the sparse germination of the corn, cucumbers, and other generally reliable vegetables. It’s all very depressing.

Home gardening veterans know that every year is a challenge. Some years there’s not enough rain, others, there’s too much, then sometimes, all the insects in the world seem to descend on little helpless tender green plants.

But seldom is there a summer as the one we are having now.

My neighbor decided to till under his sad little garden rampant with weeds and lacking in vegetable sprouts. I’ve heard of others doing the same thing. Even if the sun comes out and the humidity rises, chances are our larders won’t be filled with a winter’s worth of stored, frozen, dried or canned vegetables and herbs. Plants just don’t like day after day of rain and chilly temperatures.

I won’t till under my puny plants. I always have hope, although this year I’m having a terrible time maintaining my generally sunny (pun intended) outlook.

As with every gardening season, I begin joyously planning and planting each crop. Each year I try something new along with the good old standbys. But this year, even beans, which are perhaps the easiest vegetable to grow, just aren’t doing it. By this time every other year, we’ve begun harvesting tender green and yellow beans and eating them plain or sauteed with olive oil over pasta. But this year, not only are the few plants that germinated small, but many of the leaves are yellow, despite frequent fertilizing. All the rain has drained every bit of nutrition from the soil.

Hardly any of the heat-loving corn germinated. And lettuce and spinach, which like cooler temperatures, don’t like being drowned.

Surprisingly, the tomato plants, despite the lack of sun and yellowing bottom leaves, look fairly good. But they are leggy with lots of greens and very little fruit. Onions are all tops.

The only vegetables that like all this cold and rain are the potatoes — and the zillions of potato bugs I try to pick off and stomp on nearly everyday. All four varieties are happily growing on the edge of my garden. The plants are abundant with blossoms about to open.

At the end of July, I will pull the first tiny spuds and feast on all the potato goodness of a large tuber stiffed into a two-inch veggie. That’s when they taste the best.

But the usual fresh parsley I sprinkle over the first potatoes won’t be there. Parsley didn’t like all the rain and cold either. The few sprigs that made it are yellowing.

This will be another year of the potato unless blight makes it into my garden. It’s already in the very southern and very northern parts of Maine. It’s the same fungal blight that wiped out the potato crops in Ireland in the 1840s, prompting the immigration of so many of that island nation’s people.

And potatoes and tomatoes are first cousins. Whatever gets one will get the other. I know this from very personal and upsetting experience.

It’s amazing how rapidly this fungus can spread. A few years ago, my tomato plants were growing well, with tons of green and ripening fruit on the vines. I had picked some that evening. Some were ready to eat, some needed a couple of days on the windowsill. It’s a good thing I did pick them. They were the last of the season.

The next morning, all the tomatoes were a mass of black mush. Incredible.

So, I’ll hope for the best and maintain my positive attitude that it won’t happen this year. But if it does, the mantra of any true gardener is — there’s always next year.

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