Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Got Drought?

Every year, I begin a garden with visions of bushels of tomatoes, beans, corn, and squash making their way into my kitchen mid-summer.  Enough to can or freeze, and enough to share with friends.  Though this ideal never materializes exactly as I'd like, there's always excess of one crop where another crop fails. 

However, it's been almost three weeks (maybe more?) since we've had a long, soaking rain.  Our area has had some rain, but it seems to skip over our part of the county, sort of like the parting of the Red Sea...only not so much fun.  Weather follows patterns, and in the past we've avoided tornadic activity that would have otherwise sent us into the crawl space.  So that's the silver lining in this non-existent cloud. 

We love foraging for blackberries, but as hardy as they are, they've also been affected by the drought.

When you pair lack of rain with 100+ degree temps, leaky water barrels, and a 25+-year-old well (it's not one of those modern jobs that hit the fiery core of the earth), you begin to pick and choose what you save, and what you let go.

This pear tree is starting to drop its leaves.  Saving our fruit trees, most of which we planted in the spring of 2011, is a priority.

The strawberries look like they want to curl up and die.

The cucumbers produced, but everything was kind of white and bloated at one end.  I made pickles anyway.

Ah, corn.  Corn is my white whale.  And weeds.  Seriously, if there's going to be a drought, couldn't some of these weeds die??
So does this drought mean I give up gardening?  Of course not, but here are my thoughts on how I can be better prepared for another drought:

1. More diligence in storing water (i.e., check for leaks the first time it rains in the spring)
2. Create a less labor-intensive watering system.
3. Forge relationships with other gardeners so we can trade our excess.
4. Find reliable, local sources for food through farm stores and farmer's markets.  Buying by the bushel and setting aside some time to can or freeze produce will still save time and money this winter.

And in the meantime, I'll hope for a more forgiving summer next year.

How does your garden grow?

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  1. Good ideas.

    My corn tassled early and seems to have stopped growing. Not sure if it's going to work out or not.

    Thanks to the squash bugs, all we have edible right now are beets. However, the green peppers and tomatoes look promising, they are just growing very slow. We had an hour long steady rain yesterday - did it make it up your way?

  2. We had a long dry spell but we started to get some showers but it is hit or miss. It seems like out of 5 years, we have one that is just right and the others are too wet or too dry. Hard to plan for that other than saving seeds until you eventually get localized plants that can survive but that takes time. I have green beans that seem to set beans when off the shelf varieties stopped because of heat and humidity. When it was dry I did try and loosen up the ground between the rows so that any rain would soak in, I tried not to get close to the plant root system.

  3. Drought here in Illinois is affecting everything. I walked on grass at the zoo, and looked down, almost forgetting that grass isn't supposed to crunch under you feet!

  4. I can relate to this post for sure. It's a daily struggle to keep things alive. I think I'm losing the battle at this point. Hang in there!

    Thank you for sharing at Rural Thursdays this week. xo