Sure, some liquid has fallen from the sky in the last day or so, but how much actually fell on your garden?  Enough to stop worrying about your plants for even a day?  That's a common question among gardeners after a bit of rain - how much actually fell in [name that town]?  And the answers on my local gardeners' Yahoo group after a June rain ranged from .5 to a whole inch.  Now an inch would be worth celebrating, though by now we need several.

But I was impressed that people reported such precise amounts of rain.  Where did they get such useful information?  Several sources:

One savvy gardener uses the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network, which is a nonprofit that compiles measurements of precipitation from thousands of volunteers across the country.  (Major sponsors include NOAA and the National Science Foundation.)  Sadly, this map, (seen on the right) reveals that in the last 24 hours Anne Arundel County has only gotten .36 to .7 inches rain, depending on the location of the reporting station.  Click here to see the stations in Maryland - at least 25 in Anne Arundel County alone.

Then at, I inserted an Annapolis zip code and couldn't find the rainfall in the last day but did learn that rainfall so far this month is .47 inches, reported at St. Anne's School.  More bad news, though we suspected as much.

But local gardeners also confirmed to our Yahoo group what the meteorologists tell us - that rainfall can vary dramatically within a county, or between reporting stations just a few miles apart.  So you know what works best?  Your own rain gauge.  And I'm determined to get one.  It won't be as elaborate as the total-weather-gauge that the White House gardener has installed near their kitchen garden (shown here), but even a simple one will be more helpful than my sometimes overly wishful thinking.

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