How Is Your Garden in This Drought?

My guess is if you’re a bare ground gardener you’re not doing well at all.  If you mulch I would imagine you’re still having some difficulties, although you’ve probably made it through a lot better than conventional gardeners.

Even if you’re set up to water, it’s not the same as rain to plants. I don’t water, but when I thought I was going to lose my cucumbers and squash for sure, I hauled several gallons of water to them (twice) to try to get them through.   Fortunately – we had just enough rain last week to help them make a recovery.

The picture below is what you see as you walk into my garden. The cucumber is growing into my asparagus.  Tomatoes are to the left and right. (Summer poinsettia at bottom left corner of picture reseeds in my garden every year.  It’s so lovely I would hate to pull it all up.) This was taken yesterday, July 21, 2010.

Here’s how the same cucumbers  have beenlooking during the day, especially when the temperatures are above 90 degrees. Obviously, they are giving off a lot more water than they are taking up.

Puny yellow squash.  At least we’re still enjoying some meals with squash, but nothing like usual.

No pictures taken of this cucumber in its worse condition before the rain.  How it looks this good now I don’t know.   Usually there is an abundance of cukes by now, but not this year.  These picture were taken yesterday, July 21, 2010.

A long-time good friend told me once that things always work out for Bill and me.  I have held to that comment and thought about it many times over the years, most especially when we were dealing with one of life’s more “unpleasant” situations.  We’ve had our share of them — like everyone else.  Of course, there are different degrees of “unpleasantness”, but no matter the degree —–in order to make the most of anything you have to look for the benefit and the lesson learned.

If you live in Virginia or Maryland you are familiar with drought conditions.  It hasn’t been so bad over the last few years except for maybe a few weeks in July or August.  This year’s early drought caught me totally unaware, but I’ve learned some valuable lessons from it.

The lesson that stands out most is to start warm weather crops like tomatoes, squash and cukes  early so I can get them in the ground early. If anything goes wrong then, at least I get a second chance to start again.

If it had not been for a friend sharing some of his early tomato seedlings with me, I would not be getting tomatoes still!  And usually I am enjoying a tremendous abundance of tomatoes by this time.

This basket of tomatoes was harvested yesterday from the plant my friend gave me.

Below is a cherry tomato I have been growing from my seed for 4 years.  It appears this is its best year so far.  I’ve only had a few ripe ones, but they have been delicious.

All my warm weather plants are started from seed outside in flats.  “When” they germinate and “how fast they grow” is dependent on the weather.  As you will remember, the spring was wonderful, but cold; thus, germination and growth was not fast.  Next year, I will have to make room somewhere in this house for a flat of tomatoes, squash, cucumbers and peppers.

In spite of the drought I hope you have been able to enjoy the beauty that is still out there and bounty from your garden as well. I wish you rain in due season and an abundant harvest.

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