Southern New England Drought

rims421April 14, 2012

How are you guy's dealing with the great spring drought of 2012.

This spring is by far the driest I can remember.

We have not gotten any real moisture for almost a month now. And even Febuary was very dry. The dry weather has allowed us to get off to a really early start. But I have been forced to irrigate anything that I plant if I want it to have any chance of survival.

I am planning to mulch everything as soon as possible with shredded leaves that I collected last fall. It is difficult however to apply any mulch until the plants are at least a few inches tall without burying them. The ten day forcast for this area has no significant rain in sight.

My well will not be able to irrigate the entire operation if we do not get some help from mother nature. I have a bunch of transplants that are ready to go out but I think I am going to try to hold them till we get some moisture.

The top layer of the soil is very dry right now and I do not have the well capacity to irrigate enough to maintain them till they take hold. Anyone else having the same issue's? What if anything else can we do?

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2ajsmama

I feel your pain - I'm across the state from you and same here. Got a couple of brief downpours (with snowflakes mixed in!) the other night but it wasn't even 0.10 inch. I planted 30 strawberry plants the other day, watered them in, then the rain, watered more today (26 oz per plant, 6 gal for all 30) and mulched but a couple are still wilting. Planted 2 35-ft rows of kale, 1 I saw a few sprouts so haven't mulched yet, the other I covered with burlap after watering today to try to keep the moisture in, planted 28 peas the other day and have been trying to keep them watered - when I raked back the old mulch to plant them it looked like the Dust Bowl!

I have over 300 tomato seedlings I need to pot up, and 110 or so peppers that can wait a little longer but I'm afraid to start anything else it's been so dry. I have 52 x 14 area (old garden 35 x 14 fenced 7 ft high, new area just made 3 app 17x4 raised beds in, fenced only 4ft high) near the house, plus the new strawberries and a small (app 30sf) area I planted strawberries last year (have blossoms!) near the house. I've got another 200 row ft I had in tomatoes near my pond last year, going to do edamame this year once it's warm enough but can't do any new areas away from the house unless we get some rain. My "irrigation system" consists of 5 50-ft drip hoses T'd together and 2 55-gal barrels I haul down to the pond in the pickup. Haven't gotten a diesel- or gas-powered pump yet for the pond and frankly the way this year has been I don't know how much long the pond (or my well) will hold out.

I might just have to sell most of my tomato and pepper seedlings and plant just enough for us this year, forget about market (and keeping tax exemption, farm plates).

Last year was the wettest I've ever seen, this year looks to be the driest just to balance it out.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 4:01PM
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timmy1(6a ri)

Accuguessers (accuweather) are showing rain April 26th- April 30th.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 7:29AM
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2ajsmama

Yeah, TWC showed a 30% chance of rain last night too. Next weekend 40-60% chance. I won't hold my breath.

At least we're not getting hail like they did in TX!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 9:00AM
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myfamilysfarm

We got rain yesterday, as we were trying to lay up a foundation. after they were done, the rain stopped. Just enough to make it muddy around the foundation, for us to work in. Not enough to make it muddy in the fields.

Hope you get some of it.

Marla

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 6:40PM
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rims421

We were out of state for a few days.
Came home to the the dust bowl just like when we left.
I dug down into one of our beds with my hand to see if I could find any moisture. It is dry down to about 5 to 6 inches now.The transplants are getting stressed from being held in the greenhouse to long. I am going to hold out for a few more days for some rain if it does not rain soon I don't know what we will do. I hope some of that rain you got makes it to us Marla. I may be selling more of my tomato, pepper, and eggplant seedlings than I had planned to plant as well ajsmama. At least I might be able to recoup some of our expenses. Don't give up the tax exemption / farm plates yet the year is still young and things will hopefully take a turn for the better.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 7:27PM
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2ajsmama

I still have a year - plates and permit are for 2 years. We'll see. Maybe the state will give an extension if we have 2 bad weather years in a row.

Hey, it spit a little here this afternoon! Of course, I watered the veggies, the strawberries, the wild blueberries around the house, and our shrubs this AM, for the 1st time this year. I don't think the roses are going to make it. My eunymous (s?) looks dead, the cypress and boxwoods look OK but the Montauk daisies are pretty dry, might have to cut them back. You know how hard it is to kill those things? One white pine and an Alberta spruce have some dead spots too. I didn't bother with lawn. Lilacs are looking OK, though the blossoms aren't open yet.

Maybe if we wash cars tomorrow it'll rain ;-)? Going to be in the 80's?!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 9:36PM
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rims421

I wish that washing the cars would work to make it rain (tried that last week)
The last decent rain we had here was last month when I had half of my roof stripped off. Anyone planning a roof replacement soon?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 6:10AM
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myfamilysfarm

Does anyone still have a clothes line outside? Used to be that as soon as the clothes were ALMOST dry, the rain would come in. Maybe that will do the trick.

Had rain again last night, still hoping to send some to you guys, without the tornadoes. Lots and lots of wind yesterday and today.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 10:17AM
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brookw_gw

I wish we could just get a little rain and not floods. It seems every time it rains here, it's in large amounts--for instance, this last storm dumped 2.6 inches. Now we've got more coming this weekend. Last summer, we had one week w/over 12 inches--7 inches coming in just a few hours.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 9:47AM
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2ajsmama

Boy, I hope that isn't coming our way - the ground is so dry it would probably flood here instead of soaking in.

Looks like good chance of rain over the weekend and most days next week.

Clothesline doesn't help - my neighbor dries her clothes outside all year round and we've had maybe 3-4 inches of rain during all 2012.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 10:01AM
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myfamilysfarm

While Brook got 2.6, we barely got 1/2-2. I looked at the rain gauge, but have forgotten exactly how much.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 8:55PM
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boulderbelt(5/6)

I have found setting up the irrigation system works 8 times out of ten to call in rain. hanging out clothes to dry AND washing all vehicles may also be necessary for you folks on the east coast (I know drastic measures, but you have drastic conditions)

We have been very dry here in my part of Ohio (but the rest of the state has gotten plenty of rain) but did get over an inch on Sunday which helped a lot.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 7:09AM
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timmy1(6a ri)

Just leave the sunroof open in your car/truck overnight. Guaranteed to get a good soaking thunderstorm rolling through about 2Am.

Or pitch a tent in your backyard, that always works too. Same time...About 2AM you hear tick...tick,tick... Tick,tick,tick. Tick, tick,tick,tick...Pusssssshhhhhhhhh!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 8:44PM
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2ajsmama

Pitched the tent - no luck. Sold the last vehicle with a sunroof, so that's out.

Any wetter out there in RI? Looks like we're getting some this weekend - and most of next week. I just hope Sunday (the 29th) is dry - have a BBQ for my uncle's 99th birthday (3 weeks late).

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 7:01AM
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brookw_gw

Can't help w/the rain, but I have absolutely no doubt there will be a drought in the Midwest for the next 2 years as I am putting in a pond this summer.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 9:38AM
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2ajsmama

Last year my peas rotted. This year I didn't water them every single day, nothing emerging yet (10 days later). I had soaked them, they were sprouting, I think they dried up this week.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 12:49PM
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timmy1(6a ri)

Some models showing 3-5" of rain sunday into monday.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 9:49PM
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2ajsmama

It's coming! Looks like more along the coast than here inland. Hope Mother nature is gentle with us, maybe if we get enough tonight and tomorrow AM it will soften up the ground enough so that it doesn't flood Sunday night and Monday?

I'm going to cover my strawberries, kale and peas (such as they are - I think I see a *few* sprouts) with burlap today so maybe they don't get washed out.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 6:50AM
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myfamilysfarm

Warning, after that cold front comes thru bringing the rain, the temperatures really drop. We went from 78 one day and then 58 within 48 hours, both temps being highs. The lows were 50 before and 30 after.

Marla

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 8:55PM
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2ajsmama

Yes, the forecast is showing nights back down in the mid-30's again this week, highs only in the 50's. I was thinking of starting to harden off plants May 1, planting early (maybe Mother's Day) but we'll have to keep an eye on it.

Poured for a bit in the middle of the night but then nothing - I haven't been out to check the rain gauge, but DH says we didn't get much. It's supposed to be heavy at times later tonight too.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 8:32AM
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2ajsmama

0.10 inch! I can't believe it! Sure sounded like more but I guess it was brief. Hope we get more (slowly) this afternoon/tonight/tomorrow. Forecast is still saying 2-3".

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 10:10AM
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myfamilysfarm

Our weatherman is forecasting heavy wet snow for Ohio and east. tonight we're supposed to get to freezing again. No wonder nobody wanted to buy tomato plants Saturday, which was my first farmers market of the year. Started out about 35 degrees and cloudy, I finally gave up 1 hr early and packed up. After I got done, the sun came out. Doesn't that just figured!

Marla

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 4:08PM
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magz88(5a - Central Ontario)

Marla,

We are also forecasted to get about 10 cm of snow this afternoon and evening! This weather is nutso (or just Spring). But at least it's precipitation!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 9:20AM
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myfamilysfarm

I'm guessing that's about 2-3", I'm not good with metric conversion.

Yes, any precipitation is better than none, I just like mine warmer.

They forecasting for another freezing night last night, but I don't think we got that low, thank goodness. Right now, the winds are very strong and gusty. That needs to settle down soon, we are putting trusses on our new house this week, along with the roofing.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 3:24PM
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2ajsmama

We supposedly only got .83 inches yesterday (plus 0.13 Sat night) but the rivers are running full, streams flowing again so I wonder if it was really more like 2"? Spot where my tomatoes drowned last year is standing water - not going to plant anything there this year unless it's in raised beds and I don't know if I have time to build them (haul out the soil that's decent fertility, pile it up, put sandy stuff down, then good stuff on top).

Strong winds - had a gray birch near the house break about 10ft up (of course across the roadway to the back acreage). That was not one of the trees we were worried about - I can't see any kind of rot inside, but there must have been a week spot there. And it wasn't even very fully leafed out.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 4:57PM
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2ajsmama

TWC has now revised its site to show 2.25" on Sunday for my area (on top of the 0.13" Sat night). That's more in line with what my fields (and stream!) show. Gotta buy a new rain gauge.

Wow, Marla, you're building a new house? I thought you were just reshingling. We did a modular - it went up pretty fast (roof was neat - hinged to swing up and out of the attic, then they just put the ridge cap on.). Of course it's taking me years to finish the *inside*!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 4:06PM
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