Friday, July 20, 2012

My Pathetic Garden

All those seedlings I started in the winter were duds, never growing more than six inches high after I transplanted them.  I should have taken that as an omen. Although now that I think about it, maybe it wasn't too bad of a problem to have as I would have been trying in vain to keep them alive in the recent heat and drought.

Because my seedlings were basically a total flop, I went to the local nursery and bought some tomato, pepper, eggplant and melon plants later in the spring.  Everything was picked over and most of the plants were pretty bad looking, but it was more than I had (nothing) and they were priced half-off or more because it was the end of the spring planting season.

The tomatoes are doing well as are the pepper plants.  Apparently they love the heat.  The eggplant are doing poorly because of the stupid flea beetles.  I squash as many as I can whenever I'm out there, but there are just too many of them and I think they've taken too great a toll on the plants to ever expect flowers let alone any eggplants.

There were three cantaloupe and three watermelon plants in the was-supposed-to-be-a-herb garden in the front yard, but the stupid chickens scratched three of them to oblivion.  But now that they are larger the chickens don't seem to be as interested in them and there are quite a few flower blossoms on them.  Too bad we don't seem to have any bees around.

I also planted zucchini, patty pan and yellow squash directly into the garden about a month ago and then again few weeks ago.  They are doing pretty well, although I have been having to pick squash bug eggs off them almost every day.  Better take the time now and hand crunch the eggs than to deal with the SBI (Squash Bug Invasion) like we had last year.

With the exception of three or four semi-mild (lower 90's) days last week and the minuscule amount of rain that accompanied the lower temperatures, I've been having to water the garden every day.  And even though I've been watering every day, this is what some of my plants still look like before receiving that supplemental moisture:
This Patty Pan squash was watered less than 24 hours ago.
The strawberry patch has held on better than I thought, and even started putting out flowers and berries a few weeks ago.  But no matter how much I watered them, the berries just couldn't compete with the heat and they are basically dehydrated right on the bush:
Dehydrated strawberries, anyone?
Another thing I noticed about the strawberries is that where I did manage to weed, the berry plants were getting scorched, and where I didn't weed, the plants were doing much better.  So even though I have an incredible urge to pull weeds while I walk by them, I'm going to leave the weeds for now.

With all this heat, drought and the sheer quantity of water I'm having to use on the gardens, I'm really starting to worry about our well.  And since I have no idea if we have 20 gallons or 200,000 gallons down there, it causes me to be more than a little concerned.  I'd like to use rain barrels, but we don't have them set up let alone gutters on the house to direct the precious water into those barrels.  Not that they would have been of any use this year anyhow as we've only received minimal amounts which would have barely watered my porch plants.

The fruit trees are beyond putting out any fruit this year, so I think I'll scale back their watering to every other day or even every third day unless they start looking stressed.  I'd give up on the vegetable garden before I did the fruit trees; we've got too much time and money invested in the trees to let them die from lack of water.


  1. It's been a very, very tough year. We haven't had the severe drought that you all have had, but we are way behind, moisture-wise, and I need to water, too. My well is deep, but doesn't have a lot of water, so I have been taking a small bucketful and watering only around roots. I hope you get relief soon.

  2. We have been through some pretty nasty draughts in the SE over the last decade. Watering trees IMO is often a better investment than the various plants.

    I don't have one myself, but people who have sort of drip system on a timer seem to do very well.

  3. Have you thought of mulching around the strawberries, maybe straw, grass clipping, shredded newspaper? Might keep the roots cooler....

  4. Aw, dang, my heart just breaks knowing how hard you work on your garden . . . and then to see just about everything suffering and/or dying because of lack of moisture. We're kinda like Susan here in that we are needing moisture but not in the way you are. My garden would be in a lot worse shape if I hadn't mulched everything heavily. That really has helped.

    I don't know how I would handle your terrible situation. Especially when I just know food prices are going to skyrocket this fall and winter. Lay in the essentials, Sweetie, 'cause we're all gonna need 'em.

  5. Sorry about your garden. We had high hopes of doing a lot of canning this year and I don't see us doing any.

  6. Who knew that not weeding would help the strawberries? I tell you. Ya just can't win!!

  7. Sometimes you think doing a garden isn't worth it. In the long run it is a skill that will be needed, but very frustrating this year.

  8. {{HUGS}} for you AND your garden!
    My squash plants wilt out very easily too. I'm just glad I haven't had to water twice a day this year like I did last year!