Rain, drought

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Sorry to be asking so many questions but you guys have been a wealth of info for me. We finally got a little rain today but not much more than a trace at my house. didn't even penetrate into my garden soil. I've put buckets around the garden to catch rain water in and part of the garden is mulched - will do the rest when it comes up enough. Do any of you have any other suggestions to help my garden get through this drought? Our only water is from the well and the low level of that makes it impossible to use any for the garden or berries or fruit trees. Both my pear trees and my blueberries are loaded this year but I'm afraid without rain they won't grow to be any size. Thanks in advance!

-- Deena in GA (dsmj55@aol.com), May 12, 2001


Around here we sometimes cut the bottoms off empty gatorade bottles, put them top down in the dirt by the tomotoes(or whatever) and fill with water. Supposed to give them a longer, slower drink. You might consider painting the bark on your fruit trees to help protect them from the sun.

-- mary, texas (marylgarcia@aol.com), May 12, 2001.

Hi Deena! When my well is low, I plug the tub drain when I and other family members shower; then use a little Wal-Mart gas siphon to drain it into a bucket and hand water the plants with it. Even a brief, water conserving shower gives me 10 or so gallons; my teen-age daughter's showers yield considerably more. Using the soda bottle or can method set in the ground right next to the plants would help conserve it even more. I don't worry too much about the e-coli factor, as I use mine mostly on ornamentals and grapes, but if you worry about that, be sure not to use bath water on leafy veggies such as lettuce, spinach - or on anything where you eat the whole pod, such as beans or some peas. I would think that you could also use dishwater that wasn't too greasy to water your fruit trees and berry bushes. Good luck with your crops, and hope you get rain soon!

-- Polly (tigger@moultrie.com), May 12, 2001.

One other thought here. When I hoe around the plants, I make sort of a dirt wall maybe a foot or two in diameter around the plants, so that they have sort of a well to hold water when I water or they get rain, not so much run-off. Hope you get rain soon; we've had a time with drought the last few years. This year, so far,so good;)

-- mary, texas (marylgarcia@aol.com), May 12, 2001.

Are you collecting your roof run off? I started doing that on a small scale a couple years ago at our other place. I only had 2 55gal drums under the garage downspouts, but even that was a big help. Surprising how much water comes off, even a small garage roof in only a short time.

I think there was an excellant discussion on this topic at CS about 6 months ago. Some very clever and low tech ideas that may be of help. Check out the archives there. Don't know what your finances will allow you to spend, but I think you may be able to find something there that may help. I can get drums for almost nothing. I think you could hook a few in series and catch water that way. Low budget anyway. I painted the drums and the stands I made for them so they didn't look so tacky.

-- John in S. IN (jsmengel@hotmail.com), May 12, 2001.

We have had a horrific time with drought the past several years. That's why I am SOOOO terribly happy that thus far we have had rain. Umm, This might seem like a lot of work, but I would reccommend shading what you can, like squash since it is so prolific and it needs to be watered right at the base of the plant. I use really deep mulch and keep it up year round then when I plant I just part it and make a well out around the plant or a trough for seeds. This seems to help tremendously. I have a round stock water tank that I use to collect the roof run off and that has been a great blessing. I hope you get rain soon. I know exactly how you feel.

-- Doreen (bisquit@here.com), May 12, 2001.

All the suggestions you have received have been excellent. All I can really think of to add is that your plants get more benefit from the water if you water them in the evening. The sun doesn't just yank the moisture right back out of them that way and they have more time to recover before the sun hits them again. My mother and dad watered nearly 3 acres using the can-by-every-plant method. They made good gardens, but it gave Mother a heart attack and killed her. She insisted on hauling water to the whole thing when the heat index was around 110. When Daddy got out of the hospital with pneumonia he went right back down to the garden and got on the tractor. He fainted and fell off the tractor. It ran into a tree and stopped. He died 10 days later. Be careful and don't over do it. Gardening isn't always healthy.

-- Green (ratdogs10@yahoo.com), May 13, 2001.

I rerouted all greywater drains to a sand filter and resevoir for garden use.

-- Jay Blair in N. AL. (jayblair678@yahoo.com), May 13, 2001.

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