October 24, 2016

A Casualty of the Drought

I was full of hope when I started the balcony garden in the early spring.  I had started growing herbs, tomatoes, peppers and zucchini, mostly from seed.

After last year’s gardening lessons, I knew what to do.  (See Growing Vegetables in a Balcony  http://wp.me/p1dmhM-v)  I did not expect to get all my vegetables from the garden, but I did count on a harvest or two.

Well, my hopes have been dashed, as the plants all dried out.  Alas, the plants could not withstand the extreme heat.  When we returned from the backpacking weekend, the plants were all droopy.  I had left those self watering globes but they were not enough.  No amount of watering was able to revive them.

Because it’s a balcony garden, it does not get any irrigation.  Due to the extreme heat, the garden needs daily watering.  We have had a drought in our area for the last few months, with no sign of relief.  Last year, we got regular showers and downpours which kept the garden alive on days I was unable to water it.

This year is different.  I did not think it would be that obvious but the drought is very noticeable.  Just walking along the bayous you can see all the dry patches, and there are a lot of areas where the waterways are all dried out.  It is a bit alarming, what this drought may do to large scale food production.

Don’t get me wrong, if you are concerned about supplementing your food supplies, gardening is still a good skill to have.  But even on a small scale, I have learned you need redundancy in your plan due to the possibility of a bad harvest.  Drought happens.  Now for plan B:  I think I will try to plant some herbs and veggies indoors.


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10 Comments on A Casualty of the Drought

    • We were just talking about that–strange weather all around the country this year. We are having a drought while a lot of other areas are having too much rain and even flooding.

  1. Yes, you have to water them daily and if it gets really hot out sometimes 2 times so they do not dry out and being that they are in pots, it’s harder on them as opposed to being in the ground. Sorry they died on you. Would have been nice.

    • I was looking at a little strip of dirt next to our driveway and wondering if the building gardeners would notice if I sneak a few herb seeds in between the ground cover. Might be easier, since there are sprinklers there. Except for the possibility someone will think they are weeds and uproot them. 🙂

  2. Where I live we usually get less than an inch of rain all summer. It’s really hard to garden in areas that don’t get adequate rain unless you never travel. I had to go out of town for a week when my plants were still in their pots prior to putting them in the garden. I brought them all into the house and set them in my shower. It has white tile and a skylight to keep the room bright. I set each of my pots in a pan of water so they were able to soak water up from the bottom. That may not be the ideal way to do it but most of the plants survived, although they were in a bit of shock when I returned.

    • When I re-plant indoors I try that method-set the pots in a pan. It’ll be worth a try if at least some survive. Thanks for the tip.

  3. I believe I read that you use Miracle Gro potting soil with is an excellent product. But, to really go light on the watering, I would suggest a homemade soilless concoction of 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 vermiculite, and 1/3 compost. (You can go half and half peat moss and vermiculite but then you will need to add additional nutrients.) You will find that this soilless mix can go a lot longer without watering.

    Also, I have forgotten what they are called, but there are some gel type granules you can add to the soil while planting that expand when watered. These gel-like blobs hold moisture for a long time and again, reduce the watering requirements. I am not much in to house plants anymore but by using this gel, I could go 3 to 4 weeks without watering. (And I had fabulous plants if I do say so myself!)

    It is devastating to lose your container plants but hopefully you will not give up. We had the opposite problem here in NW Washington State – a cold, damp spring meant the seeds did not sprout at all and those that did are stunted. I finally had to purchase starts which cost a lot less in the end then all of the wasted seeds.

    It has been so cold here that even the tried and true hydrangeas have not bloomed yet. One plant has just a single flower and usually it is loaded with buds by early June. On the other hand, my greens (lettuce, chard, pok choy, mesclun mix) are gorgeous and a huge success).

    BTW, 90% of my garden is in pots as well. My yard is teensy tiny.


  4. We’ve been in a drought too, and now we’re on water restrictions. It’s been hard on the garden this year. I thought I would have a lot more production than I did.

    • I hope this drought ends soon. I am sure a lot of other home gardeners in the drought areas are having a tough time this year.

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