Thursday, September 12, 2013

Man, Am I Parched!

This sunset looks like a wildfire.
Well, it's been approximately 2,000 days since we've had rain.  Alright maybe in this "watch my yard die" mood, it just seems it's been that long.  Fact is we are setting records and it's not one I was anxious to have bestowed upon me.

When the area is in drought, it is suggested by our learned horticultural colleagues, that you water the most expensive to replace things in your yard.  Factor in the ones that take years to reproduce the current size.  Water deeply and let the annuals, turf lawn and less valuable perennials be sacrificed.

Much of us in this area did that last year to some degree.  Then we received the most wonderful buckets of rain this spring, the drought lifted and we planted and thought we were on easy street.  Alas, easy street wasn't just around the corner, it was only a brief interlude before the current drought conditions set in again.

What is suffering in your garden this fall due to drought?  Are you like me and have a yard too big to ever get it watered to the extent where nothing is going to show wilt at the very least?

Daylily "Siloam Betty Wood"
 is doing a rebloom right now.
On a perennial basis, the daylilies and hosta are pretty much dried up.  Whether they are simply being forced into early winter sleep or if the roots are drying up (as in dead) - we'll see.

Pine trees are especially sensitive to lack of moisture for prolong periods.  Next is what I call exhibition trees:  those hybrid species for show such as Japanese Maples.  Typically, these are fairly expensive and deserve a good soaking about twice a week during drought.

This may sound obvious but when you have a drought and you water a plant - even if you do deep soaking - the rest of the surrounding rock hard soil pulls that moisture away pretty darn fast.  It's why regular rainfall is so much better.  The roots have time to drink without every patch of soil lapping it up in the process.

We're also cautioned to never use overhead sprinklers because so much is lost to evaporation, some plants get mildew and you are watering areas that don't specifically need water - it's a waste of precious water.  I agree and disagree.

I read recently we should stop watering our gardens and buy from a farmer's market or other commercial source.  It's cheaper than watering.  I'm sorry but this summer (and maybe next), I still want my own tomatoes and can't imagine letting them die on the vine.  Having said that I'll go one step farther and admit I do deep spot watering about every other day and then I overhead sprinkler it about once a week.

This duo system seems to work best in my raised garden bed because it soaks the entire bed once a week so when I deep water individual plants, it isn't sucked away from the roots quite so fast.  Seems to prolong the amount of moisture on the roots.

Having said that, my tomatoes and pepper plants are not nearly as big nor are they producing as much fruit as usual.  The tomatoes are really really sweet which is a result of both the variety and the drought.    If I was preserving my tomatoes for a large family and we were depending on it through a long winter, I would be more worried.

I put up 15 quarts of tomato vegetable juice this week but it was the first time and that certainly doesn't cover a full winter of meals.

I remember my dad (born 1908) talking about the year their potato crop failed and they ate rice all winter.  In this day and age of easy to buy food at the corner grocery, we're not that many years away from a time when gardens were the only means of feeding a family.  You either produced and preserved or people went hungry.

And as I'm talking about our drought, Boulder CO is reeling from massive flooding.  Other areas have horrific fires.  Isn't it always an interesting weather hodge podge across this large country of ours?  Blessings on you where ever you are and what ever your weather.  

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