Put some clothes on….


Your garden that is…The unmulched garden looks to me like some naked thing which for one reason or another would be better off with a few clothes on.

With a drought affecting much of the country trying to maintain gardens in such dry conditions are a challenge.

I have been giving priority to the vegetable plants ( a hard decision for me ~ you know how much I love flowers); after all they will be filling our pantry and tummies.

For flowers and vegetables, use wider spacing to reduce competition for soil moisture, mulching in between plants.

Use 3 to 4 inches (after settling) of organic mulch (pine bark, straw or similar, I use grass clippings on top of straw) to prevent soil from drying and losing moisture to the air.

Keep such mulch away from tree trunks. If you have newspapers to spare lay a layer of paper then mulch. The news paper will compost, unlike plastic. A caveat, I have never done this, I am weary of the printing ink. Is this even a valid worry? For the same sort of reasons I never use old rail road ties for raised beds; do the chemicals they are treated with leach into my veggies? Oh, the horror. Ok, back to gardening in the absence of rain….

If there is no watering ban; try to water in the early morning, when there is less heat and wind, and so less water lost to evaporation. I have a well, so I have to monitor my own consumption; lest I pay the price. Water deeply and less often rather than for shorter periods more often. This allows water to penetrate deeper, and so encourages deeper roots which are more resistant to drought.

Water established plants only if “really” needed and once they begin to wilt.

Many perennials and woody plants may wilt, and not perform best if dry, but will survive. This is especially true if they were healthy and well-watered prior to drought conditions. Only a few perennials such as false spirea (Astilbe) have leaves that turn brown and don’t recover if dry, but have to generate new leaves.

Alas, the heat and lack of water has taken its toll, but look closely…there is new growth on this Astilbe..

When adjusting the hot and cold in baths and showers, collect in a bucket the water that would normally go down the drain before the temperature is adjusted. Also collect and use water from dehumidifiers or window air conditioners.

Collect water from downspouts of gutters, or divert these into flower beds.

Fertilize less, both less in amount and less often, and avoid too much high nitrogen fertilizer. Too much nitrogen results in excessive growth, and need for water by plants.

Organic fertilizers provide less, and over a longer period usually, and they help soil humus which helps hold water.

If water is restricted or in short supply, give highest priority to the following:

Newly planted trees, shrubs and perennials

Newly seeded lawns or repaired lawn areas

Plants on sandy soils or windy and exposed sites

Vegetables when flowering

Keep weeds down, as they compete with more desirable plants for water.

At least the bright side is that under drought, weeds wont grow as fast either!

4 thoughts on “Put some clothes on….

  1. Pingback: Put some clothes on…. | A Winsome Journey ~ imagine, dream, create | Garden Flowers Plants

  2. Love this post, Jess. Sorry you’re going through this. It was sad, sad, sad for me last year, but I learned so very much from it. I garden in a very different way now. (http://wp.me/p28k6D-2C)

    You are going through what WE went through last year in Texas. We are in a sub-tropical zone. No rain simply rocked my world. With no rainfall for more than 11 months and 3-digit temps for 75 straight days, it was all about water conservation and I had to give up a garden and rely on “volunteers” instead. They knew what to do. Here’s my quick-list, not different from your own:

    1) No sprinklers (drip only), 2) Zero chemical fertilizers, I mean zilch, 3) Mucho mulch-o (the more the better), 4) Collect every drop of rain you can, 5) Water trees, trees, TREES (they are quite literally the air we breathe), not grass, grass, grass, 6) Don’t forget to feed the bees.

    In a prolonged drought (ours was a 100-yr drought), the aquifers get taxed with people trying to keep lawns green — that’s our drinking water, people, let it GO!! Grasses are resilient and can take a lickin’.

    Like

  3. Pingback: Tending the Garden | reubenshome

  4. Pingback: Astilbe Amethyst | Perfect Plants

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