Looking to make things easier re: gardening in our climate.
I just got home from a week in the Ozarks. The mountains temper the climate, they get more rain, and it was bliss (85 vs 100 here just a few hours away).
When I got home I looked at my garden in dismay. Despite Kelleyp's valiant efforts to water, most of my tomatoes were more than half-dead. I lost an evergreen tree (4' tall, 3 years old). My 8 hydrangeas that I planted last year looked dead but seem to have recovered. I lost a dwarf potted lemon that I have had for 7 years. Two of the three native plums I got from Paula at the spring fling are gone.
What I noticed: The brambles (blackberries and rasperries) are doing great. The fruit trees look good. The grape vines are still alive despite the anthracnose. The strawberry plants are fine. Ditto the fig trees (planted last fall). The sunchokes and wildflowers don't seem to mind the heat or lack of rain.
So, I think I want to come up with a new plan for next year that will enable me to grow things that LIKE heat and a dry climate. I don't want to work this hard. I got home at 2 pm yesterday and was watering until 7pm, and agaian today, and I am not done.
I think I will plant more strawberries next year...they bore mainly in May before it got too hot, and when there was more rain. My cucs are doing great. I will plant the suckers from my brambles and plan to have at least 40 blackberry and rasberry bushes next year. I might dedicate another bed to sunchokes. My lettuces and greens also did well in May. I will grow more onions...they are fantastic.
I am going to grow fewer tomatoes. They are too much work and too much heartbreak. I will grow 10 or fewer plants and really baby them.
What else does well with borderline neglect and little rainfall? I need to learn to love to eat the things that do well here vs struggling to grow what I love.
PS Gary's tomatoes, which were planted much later than my transplants, still look fantastic. My container tomatoes are also doing very well. My raised bed tomatoes are all but dead.