The hot dry wind and lack of rainfall is telling me to shut down, there is no need in running up large water bills and getting little produce.
Oh my gollies! Yeppers. Id be doin the same.
I'm still watering a few things, but I need to find a way to cut off the drip irrigation to beds I'm not using anymore. It's just the basic 1/2" plastic drip hose, so I bet I could just clamp down the lines I don't need somehow. I hate that I'm wasting water on weeds right now!
That is a crying shame. I am so sorry.
Sorry to hear it Larry. But after putting too much water on the garden last July, I decided not to do so this year. Unfortunately this year had to buy lots of water in March and April just to get the garden started. As I recall you were wet in March and April. Isn't it amazing how fast it can go from too wet to too dry? Hope you get enough rain for a fall garden.
I know the feeling. We are going downhill fast here. And no relief in the forecast. Was 108 today. I'm still mulching and in my deep sand I can keep most going without extensive watering. At least I've had some help so far this year. My concern now if my early sweet corn is pollinating. My field corn growing friends say there is no way I will get a good fill on my ears. I did last year under similar conditions. Nothing I can do now but hope and wait. The weather has really changed my DTM's. I'm going to post a little about that on my update thread. Hope rain comes soon for all of us who are in such dire need. Jay
Larry, I feel for you. But you're doing the right thing. Last year I ran the water bill up, quite a bit, and it made almost no difference because of the extreme heat. Maybe you can get something in for fall.
Here, we've been fortunate. But it's obvious that with just a couple weeks time it could all go down.
I am so very sorry to hear this Larry.
I feel your pain, I am shutting down as well. Until the fall...
I hate that the weather has put you in this position because I know you've worked so hard on the garden this year, in addition to all the soil improvement you do annually. However, in light of your lack of rainfall and arrival of hot summer temperatures, I know that you are making the right decision.
That photo showing the cracking of the ground makes me feel right at home. Normally, that's how our ground looks by mid-July of most years. So far our ground only has tiny cracks, but then we've had 7" of rain in the last month so it would be incredibly alarming if our ground was as badly cracked now as yours is. With very little rainfall in the last 10 or 12 days, we're rapidly drying out too.
In May, it was so hot and dry that I was ready to pull the plug on the garden. Then, near the end of May, rain started falling and continued to fall over about a 3-week period. That rain saved my garden and allowed it to keep going.
Yesterday I watered everything in the garden except the tomatoes and it was the first time I'd watered since right before rain began to fall at the end of May.
I had previously set myself a deadline of July 1st to stop watering, and likely I will abide by that. I'll probably water on the last day of June and hope that irrigation will keep the garden alive and producing another couple of weeks. There is no sense in watering a lot when the heat shuts down production of many veggies despite our best efforts.
We're going downhill fast here too, just like Jay's area. While our rainfall and soil moisture look good on paper, veggie gardens have that "what have you done for me lately?" type attitude and do not handle our constant heat well on little moisture, and really their performance does not improve markably even with irrigation once the daytime highs are hitting the upper 90s and beyond.
I hate that summer is doing this to us yet again. We need another summer like the one when it rained a lot and stayed fairly cool....2004 and 2007 comes to mind, and so does either 2009 or 2010. That seems like ages and ages ago, but really it is just a couple of hot summers back....
Last year, many veggies in my garden kept producing just fine after I cut off the water sometime in July, so maybe some of yours will surprise you and continue to grow and produce for the next few weeks.
I'm sorry, Larry. I imagine your garden is quite large and so watering it extensively in this heat is not practical. We've been so fortunate with our weather in OKC (and I say that after softball sized hail!) that I've only watered the garden with my soaker hose about six times, around 1.5 hours each time. Of course, my garden is less than 300 sf including the pathways.
Ever the optimist (isn't that a prerequisite for gardening in OK?) I wonder about planning for dry farming next year in your area? Do you already have a gray water system or could you rig one up? I know you are very handy and have an aptitude for engineering and problem solving.
PS - Miraje, I just put in my first drip system for my potted plants two weeks ago and love it. I used those figure eight clamps at the ends of lines - you could clip the lines you don't use and clamp off the one you do, then when you are ready to re-instate the unused lines, use a connector to put it back together (essentially creating zones).
We have had very little rainfall at our house and I have needed to water quite a few times. I think I would have to keep the water on constantly to make the tomatoes happy, but most other things seem to do fine with average watering.
My squash plants are beginning to look really stressed and they won't last much longer, but I also planted a few Zuchetta plants after the peas came out and they are just budding up and getting ready to bloom. That should keep us in summer squash to eat fresh for as long as we want, and I didn't plan to use it other than fresh eating.
I planted one 16 foot cattle panel of pickling cucumbers and they are still healthy and producing a lot and I have already made 14 jars of pickles. I planted a few slicing cucumbers along about 4 feet of fence and they are producing more than we can eat fresh (and we eat a lot) and I have shared several with friends and neighbors.
Each time I pick bush beans, I hate myself for planting them. LOL They are productive, but such a pain to pick. I planted Blue Lake Bush and I almost have to lay the plant over to pick them because they grow so low on the plant. This puts some on the ground and the pill bugs have been a problem. I had Sluggo but didn't use it there because I expected the bush beans to be a short time crop but they just keep producing. I have to pick them again today to add to the pole beans I have already picked today. I won't be sorry when the bush beans end, and I have promised myself that if I ever plant bush beans again it will be a double row along the sidewalk where I can kneel and pick them. I have frozen 17 packages of beans, and I have a trellis made of one cattle panel, but cut in half and planted vertical that was planted later and hasn't yet produced. That is in addition to the 16 feet, plus two towers that are still producing heavily.
I planted a few cantaloupe in one area and had a couple of volunteer vines which I left growing in another area and they look nice so far. I never get melons until Fall even when I plant early. A couple of weeks ago, I had an empty bed with a soaker hose running through it which is still in use for other things, so I planted a few cantaloupe seeds along that soaker hose. They are all about two inches high now.
Winter squash went in after the broccoli came out and the low tunnel was put on it at planting time. I hope it has time to make. It is mostly spaghetti squash, with a few others thrown in at the end of the row. My goal is to keep it insect free until it starts blooming. My DH likes every vegetable that I have ever fed him except winter squash. Actually he loves spaghetti squash, but he doesn't like acorn and butternut and that type because he thinks they are to sweet to be a vegetable. However, he does eat pumpkin pie, so winter squash is desert to him and not vegetable. LOL Go figure that one out!
I am getting lots of tomatoes now and they are starting to get ahead of me. Al was gone all weekend and returned to find a half sheet pan stacked high with tomatoes, so I didn't eat fast enough while he was gone, but I did get to use my bacon. LOL By tomorrow I will probably need to make a batch of salsa.
I will probably not fight the battle of trying to keep tomato plants alive for very long. They already look bad and most of them had heavy fruit set early so they are loaded with ripening fruit. Heavy rains might keep them producing, but they are already looking pretty used up. If we get plenty to eat fresh and a couple dozen jars of salsa, then I will be just fine with letting them go.
Interesting item....I have one tomato plant growing in a 7 gallon pot that looks healthier than any of my other plants. When I was planting tomatoes, it was growing beside another plant and was about a third the size of the one I was planting. I decided to try to pull it away from the other plant and see if it would still grow although it was a puny looking little thing. I had lots of other plants that got composted, but I decided to save this one, and the container was just setting there empty. I didn't even move it to a full time sunny spot, but instead it is placed with a building to the east and a big tree to the west, so it only gets midday sun. It hasn't yet produced, but it is a healthy looking plant that will probably last into the Fall while the others are going to be finished soon. If it continues to do what it looks like it will do then that may be the best way for me to get Fall tomatoes in the future, because I have a hard time making myself plant new plants when I am busy processing the garden's bounty in mid summer.
My first cowpeas (purple hull) are just growing in a big tub and are about a foot high and looking good. The second batch are along a cattle panel in the garden (Red Ripper) and are not quite that large but look healthy. I don't normally grow cowpeas, and have never grown Red Ripper, so this is an experiment for me to see if I think they are worth the trouble. I normally buy either dry or frozen rather than growing them.
My peppers appear to be loving the weather.
Each time I have to go pick the bush beans, I feel like that old commercial of the sleepy guy making his way to work in the dark and as he yawned, he said, "I have to go make the donuts". I feel that same way everytime I have to go pick the bush beans. LOL
Haha, I actually feel the same way when I need to pick the pole beans! There are certain spots that are kind of hard to see or reach for me on the trellis, and it's always a pain to dig through the leaves and vines to find the pods that are hiding from me. It also takes quite awhile to pick them all, and they're producing faster than we can eat them.
Larry, sorry to see those pics. It is distressing to see wilting plants after all those hard labor and investment. It looks like I have have been seeing this often after I started gardening. People works sitting in a/c buildings and buying food from super stores never realizes worst phase of the drought and its impact in general. I have been gardening recently (sine 2008), but thinking coming year will get better and receives more rain... but that hopes will slowly dilutes as summer approaches. I red lot about the summer 2007, wettest summer in the OK history. I was thinking that summer will repeat this year after worst droughts.. so for far no luck. But i am happy this year in comparison to last year that, we have good spring harvest. I am still hope to get some rain after few weeks or at least for fall garden.
Thanks everyone for the comments, although nobody wants to let there garden die, I just have to look at as an opportunity to do other needed projects. I will not pull the plug completely. I will still water the corn, sweet potatoes, peppers, okra and melons as long as I see any hope for them. I will pick the peppers and tomatoes Fri. and take to my sister. I expect that within a week the peppers, sweet potatoes and perennials will be the only priority.
I have no gray water system.
I have 5 vegetable growing areas totaling a little over 2000 sq.ft.
I irrigate with PVC tubes, each tube is controlled with a ball valve. Watering the plants is no problem but paying for the water is. I have to pay $.006 per gal. plus other fees.
I need a more efficient watering system. I bought supplies to build a rain gutter system, but I dont have it assembled yet. I have no idea how well I can make it work.
Good luck Larry and I hope that rain comes quickly before the plants die. It is a lot of effort to give up on, but I do understand. I have just been watering mine today and I'm not willing to do that forever either, but I want to keep it going for awhile yet.
Thanks Carol, if we dont get rain soon my garden will be one of the smallest problems in this valley. I went over to the old home place to check on the artesian well and its not flowing. That well has been flowing for about 60 years.
The deer have eaten most of my neighbors gardens. The neighbor up on the hillside said they ate his corn stalks, tomato plants and even the green tomatoes, and every thing else in his garden. There must be food for the wildlife to eat, but they must not like dry and crunchy.
Aw, Larry, I'm sorry. It' a hard, hard thing to choose to walk away from your hard work like that. Not that it's really much of a choice when it gets that dry.
We're in a drought up here, too, but nothing like an OK drought. There are big ol' cracks all over my yard where the grass is not yet established and, each time I walk out there, I think I'm back in OK. I usually time my plantings for when there's rain in the forecast because I hate watering but there's been hardly any rain this spring/summer. I've watered most everything three or four times just to get it started. The only reason I think everything isn't already dead is because of the deep mulch I have everywhere. The only folks at market with any veggies are those who have watering systems set up.
Is it raining anywhere?
"Is it raining anywhere?
I am hoping that with a good, deep watering at the end of this week/this month, my garden will stay in production for at least a couple more weeks. With this heat, though, I'm not sure it will. Our forecast high yesterday was 99 and we hit 105 a little after 5 p.m. Our forecast high, if they haven't changed it since I looked at it before sunrise, for today is 101 and for tomorrow is 103. There are not many plants that will be happy in that heat for long without some water.
Our average high temperature for yesterday is 91, so we beat it by 14 points. It is getting rarer and rarer to have an average or below-average temperature around here.
I imagine many parts of Florida are ready to send the rain elsewhere. Imagine the flooding occurring in some of those places.
We left Tampa Saturday night, just ahead of Debby. Looking at the beach where we stayed last week, there were tornado touchdowns, homes destroyed, at least one dead, and beaches flooded on Sunday night. Crazy.
Those poor people in Florida. Mia, glad you made it out of there!
As part of my shutting down goal I wanted to get the North garden free of plants in time to solarize if I still found the Rootknot Nematode damage that I had in this garden last year.
I tried cooking the nematodes with charcoal, growing Elbon Rye, winter till and adding organic matter. All seemed to help, except the cooking. I still had a good crop in that area, but it seemed the plants were a little shorter.
It may be too early to see nematode damage but I pulled 4 tomato plants from the nematode area and will post a link if any want to see them, but I will expect you will only see tomato roots from a very, very dry soil.
Here is a link that might be useful:
It looks like your work to eliminate the nematodes is paying off. Now, if only you'd get a year with some nice rainfall so the tomato plants and everything else could stay in the ground and grow and produce for a couple more months than they did this year.
I started pulling tomato plants today, but I'm taking it slow and easy, salvaging whatever fruit is left on a plant that can be used. If there was any chance of rain in the forecast, I'd leave them a while longer, but there isn't, so I don't think there's any point in just leaving them there to be summer camp for spider mites. Now that I'm pulling them, the spider mites probably will move to the melons and okra. Some summers it seems like we just can't catch a break. I'd like to have a cool and wet summer with no spider mites, but I realize the odds of that are almost slim to none.
The next step I am taking in shutting down, or getting through the summer is trying to reduce some of the stress on the remaining plants. I have harvested much of the sweet and Jalapeno peppers (in the aluminum pans). The peppers in the plastic bag are some I have never grown before and know nothing about. They are Holy Mole, Joe E. Parker and an Italian pepper I have never heard of. I dont know how to use them so I did not pick many of them.