Gulf Coast Monsoon: When Rain Clouds Lurk

“A promise is a cloud; fulfillment is rain. ~ Arabian proverb

No Complaints

It’s been very wet and cool down here on the Gulf Coast of Texas this spring. ‘Cool’ is not normal for the month of May; ‘wet,’ on the other hand, is expected. Thankfully, I work and live in the same place, where there is no need to get out in it unless we run out of food. Floods are common in heavy downpours and traffic problems do result, but they are nothing like the real monsoon rains along the equator. Just check out this Freshly Pressed piece in the style of Steve McCurry’s fabulous photography:  Monsoon: A Photo Essay.

Okay, maybe sometimes I wish for breaks between the drops so I might go to the garden and get some sunshine. Once the Drought and subsequent fires of 2011 passed (an entire lake drying up because of it) I promised to treat rainwater with more respect and reverence. Today, as I stand out in the light rain, tasting the sweet drops of sky nectar on my tongue as they roll down my face, I swear rainwater now heals me.

Rain Is What Plants Need.

Catching roof run-off is easy to do. I use trash cans, open wheelbarrows or buckets — whatever makes a make-shift rain barrel — then cover with mesh screen to prevent mosquito reproduction. To use the water, I simply drop in a 50 GPM electric pump and run a water hose out to select plants when things get really dry. This season thus far, it hasn’t.

Rain barrel storage capacity has been at the maximum since March. I’ve used this caught water only twice, to build compost and garden beds, and to deep-water specific fruiting trees. It may be time to get some more rain barrels. In Houston, annual rainfall is in excess of 52 inches. I’ll bet by now, we’ve had more than half that number.

Sometimes, we get a bit more rain than usual…like in the past few days. Thunderstorm systems love to hover over Houston and dump tremendous amounts of ‘monsoon rains’ that can quickly flood low-lying areas — areas near bodies of water like ours. Sometimes the water flows in the opposite direction and begins to rise. Thankfully, our creek has never broken its banks in our 10 years of living here, but we have had instances where it rained so much in such a short time that the water could not drain away from our house fast enough.

Still, I like to go out and check. Just in case.

Cenzio From Staircase Window
Saggy With Water, Blossoms

Out the Front Door
Weighted cenzio a/k/a/ ‘Texas Rain Sage’ over entrance

You can literally watch the blossoms
open after a drenching rain!

Texas Rain Gauge
Overnight ‘Shower’ = 8+ Inches
Drencher = Full Wheelbarrow

Through a foggy lens…but zero garden flooding!
Love my no-till, layering method

Looking to be a rockin’ Roma Tomato crop.
12-inch plants are now chest-high after just 3 weeks

Time to stake the Amaryllis

Water Table is Up

The ‘Lake’ Recedes

Meditation Spot for Water Birds

Really, Neighbors?
More on that in a later post…

Too Much Rain = No Yard Time = Lazy Grazing

Are you getting a lot of rain where you live?

25 thoughts on “Gulf Coast Monsoon: When Rain Clouds Lurk

  1. Great post, Shannon, on the joys and sights of abundant rain. I chuckled at the Texas rain gauge and marveled at the verdant colors in your photos. And whenever you think you’ve had too much rain, you can always go to Steve McCurry’s monsoon essay. OMG!! Thanks for sharing his incredible photos too.


    1. Hey Jet. We appear to be having a repeat of last year’s rain and flooding scenario. Nothing we won’t recover from, but it’s looking more like the norm now. Yes! At least it’s not Asian monsoon rains. That’s just crazy!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was wondering if you would possibly be interested in a guest blogging opportunity with Gardening Know How? If so, please e-mail me for details – thanks, and hope to hear from you soon!


  3. Feast or famine; I have relatives on the west coast and in your neck of woods and what a difference. Hope you survive the floods. Your pictures show plush green gardens–not what I picture in Texas.


    1. The west coast bunch is enjoying the drought we experienced in 2011 — only more prolonged. The cities within an hour of the beaches tend to be more sub-tropical. My yard is an oasis of green with all the rain we’ve had. Not complaining!


    1. Well, it’s beautiful today. I may even get out and get some sunshine working on the property. As for my daily-yard-watering neighbors, it’s hard to find the right words. My mother always told me that if I didn’t have anything nice to say, not to say anything at all. Harumph.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautiful and sunny here!! A small shower tomorrow to water the new seeds, then sun again!! Sorry about all your rain, but I am thrilled to see green in our neck of the woods and not snow!!


    1. Yay! Looking forward to seeing a lush garden of green from my favorite Canadian neighbor. No worries about all the rain here. It’s perfectly normal. 😀

      Were you able to watch Dirt! The Movie yet?


      1. Sadly no, it is sitting on my coffee table waiting patiently for me to stop playing I the dirt ironically!! I don’t have to work next weekend so hopefully the kids and I will get to watch it then!


  5. I haven’t watered in weeks. Flash flood warnings here as well. No one complains though. 2011 has stuck in the collective mind better than most news events. Our water reservoirs are only at 39% capacity even with last spring and this being unseasonably cool and wet. Hopefully we continue to receive gully washers into the summer.
    Where do you buy your screen? I wasn’t sure if you had some magical inexpensive source.


    1. It’s much drier out your way than it is along the coastline. We get regular thunderstorms that build from the coastal moisture colliding with cool systems to the north. Let’s hope the reservoirs are at maximum at the end of the year!

      We had a roll of window screen (for repair) in the garage, so I just cut up pieces as cover. For the wheelbarrow, I use a framed square window screen that’s just the right size, but you could easily place a couple of 2×4’s on top to hold it in place. Thanks for being my ‘top commenter,’ PlumDirt. Always nice to have you here!

      Of course, preventing mosquito reproduction is like chasing our tail. We have a creek in the back!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s interesting how different parts of the country react to rain. In Wisconsin, they would be SO annoyed by the rain we’ve been getting in Texas. But they’re not worrying about a drought either. The people I work with here are singing the praises of the rain. I haven’t heard one complaint. It really has given me a different perspective on the weather.


    1. Right, Julie, interesting perspective! That recent drought — the only severe one in more than 50 years — rocked everyone’s world here. It has certainly changed OUR perspective on rain. Glad to see you are getting wet up there. The garden is looking spectacular.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. You guys are lucky. Rain is so rare in Kolkata now, RATHER ALL OVER INDIA. Due to severe global warming, proper low pressure troughs are not formng to attract all the water vapors to form clouds. even if cloud is formed, we have to shout out for rain all in vain.
    The spell of rain we do get is in mid July to August, and if we are lucky enough till September. But it doesn’t quench the thirst of an agriculture based country like India.


    1. I don’t know if you clicked the link at the beginning of the post, but McCurry’s images of India are spectacular. I remember watching the wall of water creep in at the beginning of the monsoon season in Malaysia when we lived there, and it would rain and rain and rain. After a few days inside, you realize at some point you have to go out and just get wet — which everyone does.

      We’ve been watching several documentaries about the weather conditions over India and how global warming is affection the country, your crops, its people. I hope that it settles out very soon, Agnij. Nice to see you again!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. well, there’s a good news. After I commented on your post, the very next day it started raining, and it’s a relief. My Air conditioning System is getting some rest now.
        But surely when it rains in India, people cry out to stop the rain, it disturbs the daily life of a bustling city like Kolkata.


  8. We are expecting several days of storms in Kentucky, starting this morning. We desperately need it, though. We had record-breaking precipitation this past winter and early spring, but it has been very dry since. Several storm systems passed us by in the last few weeks, so we’re hoping this one hits!


    1. You get the ‘white’ precipitation which we don’t. I do hope you get some of the wet stuff, RoughRustics! Kentucky is too beautiful to dry up and blow away. Thanks for coming by.

      Liked by 1 person

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