Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Drought

In the past week, we have had rain three times.
It's FINALLY catching us up from the awful drought we've had this summer. The plants (and weeds) are loving it. During the drought we kept our garden alive by watering as much as possible and, so far, we have been lucky to not lose anything. But here is the problem: the drought hit right around the time we needed to start planting a third succession of veggies. During the summer, we plant three or four times to make sure we can harvest things all season instead of having just one big harvest and then nothing. But as we tried to plant during the drought, when it was also exceptionally hot, we had no luck. We planted several rows several times and got nothing. We tried all different hot weather plants and it just didn't work. Even when we watered before and after planting, it was too hot and dry for the seeds to germinate. The gardens looked something like this:What does this mean for our plants? It means that in about a month, we will have a lull in the harvest.
As you know, we are new at this, and we have been learning so much this year. One of the more interesting things we have experienced is having our lives dictated by the weather and the seasons and also the plants and insects. Our day-to-day depends on what the weather is that day, but also what it has been for the last few weeks.
Has it been really wet? Is it muddy in the garden? Has it been really dry? Is it raining today? Is it scorching hot? What bugs have we seen and are they good or bad? If we plant seeds now, will we have to water? When will they be ready to harvest? What else will be ready to harvest then?
Planting and weeding are both hard when it has been really wet and when it's been really dry.
Some plants have a nasty reaction to being really dry and then having lots of water and we check for those symptoms.
We are always on the look-out for "bad" bugs to smash.
Planting depends on timing, there has to be an open bed to plant in, it has to have enough time with the right weather (cool in the spring, hot in the summer, cool in the fall) to grow, and you can't plant it in a bed that has grown something similar before.
There is always something to be done, but it is these questions and considerations (plus many more) that decide what gets done when. Throw in several markets a week (and for some of our farmer friends, a CSA) and you have quite a job on your hands! Quite a rewarding job. :)