The Drought in Oklahoma Continues.. What's in the Forecast?

sweetannie4u(midOK_z6b/7a)January 18, 2013

The photo below is of one of my veggie gardens last year.
It looked pretty promising in June when this was taken, but production never did get to much of anything by July. But as pitiful as it was, I may not be so lucky this year. At least it "looked" pretty last year.

I bought my veggie garden seeds yesterday to start my flats of plants. Mostly tomatoes, but got Red Bell Pepper seeds, too. And for the early, tented crops, French Breakfast Radishes, Gourmet Mesclun and Matador Spinach. I will get out my bags of seeds and start lettuces, onions, broccoli and cabbages too.
The tomatoes are some of my favorite varieties: Beefsteak, Cherokee Purple, Brandywine, and Mortgage Lifter.
I like these big, meaty Heirloom tomatoes. Then the Early Girl Tomato which produces very early and very abundantly, plus being a juicy and delicious medium-sized tomato.

However, the forecasts for the coming growing season is extremely dismal - this is supposed to be a severely dry spring. Without the usually good spring rains, I'll be lucky to have much of anything in the way of flowers or veggies this year, let alone tomatoes enough to can. And that being the case, it will probably be the death of many of my plants, shrubs and trees.

The news networks in Oklahoma City announced tonight that mandatory water rationing will start very early this year - their city lake is dangerously low already. Ponds are dried up and small creeks and streams. I hope and pray our well doesn't dry up!

Many of the farmers around me are clearing off their land or at least thinning out their wooded areas, and completely removing all junipers (Oklahoma cedars) in anticipation of the likelihood of major wildfires this summer. The cedars ignite and literally explode like bombs, and with our year round strong winds, the fires race across the hills and prairies. With no water sources to fight them with, rural folks are in serious jeopardy.

Additionally, with no rain, there will be no wheat, no hay and no water for livestock. The ranchers around here will have to sell off much of their herds or pay to have water and hays hauled in from other other states not in drought. The wildlife will suffer terribly. But...Watch for the price of beef to shoot up even higher this year. It is really scary.

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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

(((Annie))), oh how I wish I could send you some of our rain, everything is soggy wet up here. You and everyone else affected by drought will be in my thoughts.
Water is such a precious thing, unfortunately it's something too many of us take for granted. Climate change is affecting everyone, we've not had a normal spring and summer since 2009, very wet winters seem to fade into short summers but our falls the last couple of years have been quite nice.
Plants rotting from too much rain over the winter are my biggest problem :(. The thought of fire that so many of you face is terrifying, everything can be gone in an instant, it's heartbreaking. Wishing the very best for you my friend.


    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 8:47AM
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koszta_kid(Iowazone 5)

I bought more soaking hoses,mulch this year.And praying a lot.But Santa bought me things for containers From Garden Supply. Holds a gallon of water.In veggy garden laying card board and 3rd cutting alfalfa+ soaking hose. Added even more compost.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 9:00AM
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Tomorrow I am going to hoe the few weeds out of the little Spring Garden. All the chicken-manure-hay that I dumped in there in late summer is now rotted and enriched the soil. What delicious smelling soil! If I were a plant, I would grow there, for certain.

Going to weed in and around the Asparagus bed and pile on some chicken manure hay. By the time the asparagus spears start to emerge, it will have decomposed fairly well and the plants will gorge on the nutrients. They love the stuff!

Need to do the same for all the young fruit trees too. I found some tree trunk protectors at WalMart for only a couple of bucks. Going to buy a number of those so that when I use the Weed-Eater around the fruit trees and young Willow Trees I won't injure them. It also protects them from sun damage. Thinking back about it now...I recall my father using rags or burlap tied on with cord or sisal twine that would allow the tree trunks to breathe. That might actually be the better choice and more environmentally the wiser choice, too.

I need to find another source for leaves and chipped wood /mulch too.

Need to cultivate the big veggie garden beds in the upper orchard and dump manure hay in there and lots of leaves. I will also buy bags and bags of "Black Kow" composted manure sold at Lowe's. That stuff is like black gold for the garden. Good stuff Maynard! The soil in the upper veggie garden is just pathetic! It leaches out quickly, leaving soil that is as hard as concrete in the summer heat and it heats up fast. I have to continually add nutrients and organic material to it and pile on hay mulch. Going to use Floating Covers over my tomatoes and other crops up there this year, plus the soaker hoses.
Crossing my fingers (and toes) that it all pays off this year. That's all I can do!


This post was edited by sweetannie4u on Fri, Jan 18, 13 at 23:18

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 10:35PM
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The little Spring garden next to the hen house. I get a lot of produce out of this little plot of soil:

Early Girl Tomatoes, Onions, Beets, Bell Peppers, Jalapeno Peppers, two kinds of lettuce, Cabbages, Broccoli, Italian Flat-leaf Parsley, Romas, Muncher Cukes and Okra.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 3:28AM
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Big upper Orchard Garden .

The Tomatoes and Basil did okay last year, but nothing else produced much. The broccoli did pretty well, though. I planted it in two locations - the ones on the north side where they got shade part of the day did best.

I harvested about 25 or so very sweet and juicy peaches from two of the four newly planted little peach trees. Man, they were delicious!

    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 3:59AM
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oklahomarose(USDA 6b)

Hey, Annie. It is good to hear someone speaking up about these scary climate issues. Last summer was awful and so was the one before it. I can't change the big picture, but I am determined to scale back and grow tougher plants, and I must devise a better watering system. Not sure I have the stamina to try vegetables again this summer. Might just stick to old roses and catmint, zinnia and some tough varieties of shrubs. I was insane enough to purchase a Japanese Maple last fall, even though I have nowhere shady enough to plant it. I will erect a shade cloth and pray. Happy gardening in spite of the challenges!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 9:47PM
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I am growing a Japanese Maple in a large container on my patio. I bought it two or three years ago. The following year I bought the big Japanese pot for it at Lowe's. It gets sun until late afternoon in summer. I put some big stones in the pot to hold moisture and shade the roots. They also provide protection in winter. My little cottage shades it after that. I water it everyday in the summer, I love the burgundy-red leaves in Spring. It sits there year round. It got a tiny bit of leaf burn in late August this year, but overall did fine. It even grew a bit more.

I garden almost exclusively in the back yard where it is shaded from the western afternoon sun by the house and the trees and shrubs I planted years ago. It is too hot and dry at the front of the house with the southwestern exposure nearly all day, especially with my sandy soil. I used to have pretty flowers and roses out there, but not any more. I have one magnificent yellow Lady Banks rose that eventually grew up onto the porch roof and shaded the entire south end of the front porch. Every year in May it was covered in dainty buttery yellow roses. (see picture below taken in 2004). I just loved her. Last winter she died. Too stressed out by the drought and the extreme winter and summer temp fluctuations. Sad...

I love your Garden Web ID name, btw. I love old garden roses (heirlooms). They are tough and yet produce the most fragrant blooms. Little or no insect problems and don't need pampering. Of course, I grow other roses too, but love my OGR's and always on the look-out for others.

Glad you joined us on the Cottage Garden Forum. I post on other forums, as well, but like this one best.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 3:43AM
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Love your garden your veggie plot is wonderful! I really enjoyed viewing your gardens and I think you are very talented.I too, share your concern over water. although we here in KY. have not suffered like you`all have, we have been very dry and hot. Farmers are the backbone of our country and they have a real challenge to face. lesley

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 10:44AM
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koszta_kid(Iowazone 5)

DH making me 3 rain barrels .and will attach to soaking hoses.I plan on growing even more veggy. Got seeds from Johnny Seed last week. Going to can,freeze and dry even.Like we did when first married 42 years ago. That way I know what spray is on them. + we have 9 fruit trees.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 5:41PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

I'm sorry for your drought! We are also in a mild drought here, some areas in Georgia and even in the city of Atlanta are worse than others.
Finding now that we get either torrential downpour or nothing. It's effecting the run off on my city property and we are having problems keeping water out of the house, out of the house next's been a constant fight now, and so frustrating and $$$. I have some rain barrels, and they do some good but honestly, what they can collect is a drop in the bucket of what comes off my roof. Even my large tanks of several hundred gallons water my tiny front yard once each fill. Lucky if they give enough water for one watering. It's amazing how much water the yard needs.
I've been teaching myself about cover cropping. Especially for the veggie garden, but I think I need to utilize it elsewhere. Drought, erosion: I keep putting stuff in the front flower garden: manure, mulch - not enough. Never enough. The photos of simple cover cropping results are amazing. The soil becomes better looking than adding amendments and it's way cheaper!! The appearance not as pretty for awhile. Luckily it's a small yard.

Annie, your veggie gardens are pretty! Especially love the photo of the first one!!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 6:26AM
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Thanks ya'll!
All Ya'll! :)

I really had fun designing the little veggie-herb garden (first photo), and it turned out pretty good. It leaches out fast down there. The entire area is underlain with layers of red iron rock - hard red sandstone. Even though the new leach lines were laid through there, the gray water is too far down to benefit the garden. Likely as not, the big trees are getting most of it, anyway.

Anyhow, even though I amended that soil with bags and bags of compost and lots of oak leaves from the woods, it now looks exactly like it did before I amended last year. - red sandy soil with tiny, gravelly-like hard red rocks. Bummer! Where did all those little rocks come from?
So, back to the old drawing board.

Gotta go buy a half dozen bags of "Black Kow" composted manure at Lowe's (That's good stuff Maynard). About $5 a bag and it's a big bag.

The DH "Darling Heathen" bought me a leaf-blower/vacuum/mulcher for Christmas this year. Just what I wanted...sorta. He bought me a bigger one than the one I wanted so it would be sturdier and last longer. He researched it for weeks to get the best buy, ya see. Works great! The end result is a lovely bag of finely shredded leaves and twigs. Its really nice stuff. The Heathen loves using it. :) (Now, if I could just lift it...) Nice to have awesome tools that I can't heft, start or carry around. He is big and strong with a big barrel chest and arms like Popeye, so hasn't a clue when he buys me things that are too much for me handle. My dear, darling, sweet boy...

The Poor Man's Fertilizer
On another note, we received over an inch of rain here on Iowa Hill this past week! Yes! Rain!!!! Rain and snow are The Poor Man's Fertilizer!!!!

The kittens were traumatized by the entire event! They had never seen it rain before and the thunder and lightening, although sweet music to my ears, scared the peanuts out of them! Poor babies. They kept running out onto the porch and watching the rain come down and then dashing back inside.

We are supposed to get more rain and thunderstorms in the two days and on into the following week. Rain in the forecast is such an event here in Oklahoma now that even the disc jocky on KOMA FM radio has been talking about it all morning today. It's not the end of the drought, by any means, but it will certainly give everything a booster shot and help green things up. What a blessing!

Spring is arriving a good six weeks early again this year. We've had a very mild, but dry winter (again) and now above normal temperatures in January and February. My spring bulbs are up and the daylilies and irises are greening up and coming out of dormancy. The roses are beginning to form leaf buds and there are perennial seedlings everywhere. The fruit trees are forming flowering buds and some of the hardwoods are starting to make those little soft green leaf buds. Even the Eastern Bluebirds are back. They are mating and building their nests. It's crazy! Spring comes to central early February! Unreal!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 11:55AM
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