What The Hail?

May 11, 2009

On Friday, May 8th at 4:08 PM the area of Kemptville experienced a sudden major thunderstorm that started off with gusty winds that blew the tent off my tomatoes plants, bending one of the legs and ripping two holes into the canvas as it crashed into the house next door.  Marble-sized hail immediately followed, ripping holes into the leaves and breaking stems in multiple places.  Then came the rain that was hurled to the ground with such force that soil from the pots splashed up onto the leaves and stems of the remaining survivors that were bent over from the whipping winds.

Really?  Marble-sized hail?  Oh yes.

If you look closely, you can still see the hail coming down.

It all happened so quickly and I even tried to go outside to see how my plants were doing however I was driven back onto the porch from the force of the hail.  After 10 minutes the skies opened up and the sun was shining.  I couldn’t bring myself to see the damage so I took off and when I came back I found this:

Tomato plants cut down in their prime (I estimated about a 15% total loss with another 60% damage) with stems snapped in two to three places and pieces of leaves blown around the yard.  You couldn’t even read some labels for all the soil that covered them and the remaining leaves.  Here’s a shot of the heavily-damaged ones we pulled out initially (more came later after closer inspection):

The hot peppers that I’d so carefully started in mid February fared a bit better with only one or two stems being lopped off, however, many of the leaves had marble-sized holes through them:

It was so depressing I didn’t work on anymore tomato plant sale stuff, opting instead to drink heavily for the rest of the night.

The next day I didn’t have the heart to put up any sale signs, deciding to cancel, and started the dreary task of picking through the waste.  Some people who had read my Kijiji, Craigslist and poster ads showed up early and I had to scramble to get my tomatoes presentable and organized.  All were very understanding and full of kind words.

I tried not to be too depressed.

And wouldn’t you know later that evening, before I packed away the shelving unit of the leftover tomatoes, it bloody well hailed again.

It’s been a couple of days and I have yet to start getting a handle on damage control and figuring out the total loss by variety.  I’ve gone through the damaged ones and have rooted bits and pieces of the tomatoes I could salvage into glasses of water:

Hopefully there will be life after death and I’m impressed that I can pick myself up from this and carry on.  I will be in touch with any of those who have pre-ordered tomatoes with final tallies of each variety for alternate selections.

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2 Responses to “What The Hail?”


  1. Oh no! I hate hail! We have only had two hail storms early in the Spring with pea-sized hail. Around here, quarter-size hail is not uncommon and in 1991 I got caught in a softball-size hail storm ( I was saved by the quick and kind actions of a store owner who opened his door and beckoned me in)
    I hope all your tomato bits root and you can recover some of your crop.

  2. Dan Says:

    Oh no that is horrible. It seems strong hail like this is happening fairly often now. I recall there being a lot of halt damage to farms in the southern Ontario area last summer. Such a shame, I hope you can salvage most of them. 😦


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