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rainbowgardener
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what are people doing about the heat/drought?

We have had a total of 1/2" of rain in past three weeks while temps have been over 90 almost all those days. Today will be 95 with heat index of 102.

Rain barrels have been empty for awhile. I just feel guilty pouring water on stuff.

I've been gradually watering fewer areas. I never water my lawn and rarely water the front flower beds, which are mostly pretty drought tolerant stuff.

I quit watering the white flower bed in back and the asparagus/ rhubarb/ strawberry patch awhile back (and strawberry plants have mostly disappeared; I hope they will come back next year). I haven't been watering my hillside. Being shaded it doesn't suffer as badly, but I may lose a lovely ceanothus I just planted last fall and some other stuff.

I'm now thinking about abandoning most of the rest, just focus on keeping the 3 main veggie beds (2 of which have seeds for fall crop planted in them!) and the containers on the deck alive... (and maybe the flower bed in front of the living room window with 4 azaleas in it... but they like an inch of water a week and they aren't getting that)

But then there's the weigela shrub in the front lawn. It was really suffering and a couple weeks ago I just put the hose on it and ran it for a few hours. It perked up, but probably needs that again. I bought it and planted it about 6 years ago and it has thrived until now. I hate to just let it die, but when people in the world don't have water to drink, I feel guilty pouring drinking water on it like that...

It's 6 AM and 88 degrees in the house and I am sweating as I type this.

What's everyone else doing in this global warming season? It's probably a sign of things to come and I should switch to xeriscaping and planting all drought tolerant stuff... focus on southwestern natives not natives to my area.
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thanrose
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I had an old house that was a Florida cracker house. Mmm, actually an early orange grower's house, but they had cattle too. There were old native cedars that they planted on the west edge of the homestead, large girth trunks of trees that were at least 80 years old. The property had been cut up a bit, with no one paying attention to watering for the last thirty years or more, even though we had sod. No problem.

Red cedar is mildly allelopathic, but also has a very dense mat of surface roots. It wasn't like there were tons of understory plants to need water or to insulate the cedars' roots.

We had five, then ten years of drought. I watered infrequently, but when I saw my native plants distressed, I would get up at 4 AM to water.

My cedars survived. The folks next door lost theirs.

People will disagree about when is the best time to water. It depends on what you have planted and where you live, I'd think. We're humid all the time, but mostly very sandy soil. The everpresent St Augustine grass is prone to some fungus when it's too wet for too long, but everything can get fungal down here. I figure early morning was best because it would soak in before the sun was up, and then the foliage would be dried within two hours.

Xeriscaping is a gradual process for me. In the meantime, my trees on this newer property will need water to keep my home cooler, and to protect the understory and yard plants from the brutal sun. Despite my dislike of lawn, I'll water that once in a while, too, to prevent erosion of the sand, to keep the house cooler, and to keep down the dust. Plus, for us, watering keeps the humus which deters the fleas. It also provides more live matter to become dead matter to keep the other bugs happy outside and provide homes and food for the reptiles and rodents.

I also attribute the relative safety in hurricanes of this particular home, and the one with the cedars, to the large trees around it. Sure trees can cause a lot of damage during a big blow, but if you don't take a direct hit from a tornado spun off by the 'cane, the trees will buffer the winds a bit lessening the wind damage. Aerial photos post 'canes show both a greater density of trees and less damage in my immediate vicinity in both locations. Hardly a statistic, but one homeowner's observation from two locations hard hit by hurricanes.

Maintaining my trees even in drought is possibly my major focus. For today, anyway.

thanrose
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BTW, I've been in central Florida nearly thirty years, and we've been in drought at least that long. Water restrictions have been year round since maybe 1990. You can see the water table is significantly down by noting the scars on concrete bridge abutments and pilings, if you don't notice it by boathouses on dry ground above shrinking lakes, or the dead cypress domes in what used to be wetlands.

Anytime I do anything outside that requires water to clean, I do it over the soil somewhere.

I'm watching an herbaceous shrub die this summer. It's way in the back, nonnative, but draws hummingbirds. Odontonema strictum, or firespike.
Oh, yeah, the Clerodendrum speciosissimum, or pagoda flower, next to it will probably succumb to the drought this summer or next. I'm resisting the urge to water them because it's never enough. At least the O. strictum is flowering one last time. I'd forgotten about the clerodendrums of various species because they've faded so much over the years from the drought.

I still keep a birdbath, and still water potted plants including veggies and my esoteric collections, my two remaining azaleas in ground, and areas where the lawn is in dire need or else the spot will go bare. But we received a quarter inch or so of rain last night, and today is watering day but I won't. I'll wait until Saturday to water if necessary. Two days a week is okay.

Next home, I'll definitely get an agricultural well.

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applestar
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Last drought, I decided that feeding the family with my home organically grown vegs is more important. With the entire region suffering from drought, fresh local veg prices are sky rocketing, forget organic -- they all come from California or somewhere equally distant. So I do water.

With the odd/even day water restriction, I HAD been scrambling to water everything and ending up not watering any area sufficiently, so I've switched to solid soaking in the allotted morning watering time slot (until 8AM) for just the area that a single oscillating fan sprinkler can reach + a small area elsewhere with a soaker or fixed spray head. Trying to do a 2nd large area lowers the water pressure on the 1st one. I water the next section of the garden next water day. There are 6 major areas to be covered by the oscillating fan sprinkler but I can manage to water everything really well once a week.

Our A/C unit condenses about 8 gallons of water per day (I still can't believe this much water is IN THE AIR... inside the house yet -- are you reading this jal_ut? :lol:). I've rigged it to collect the water rather than pouring it away down the drain or outside in the same spot. So I use this water for AACT, watering the compost pile, and for spot watering.

Forget the rain barrels. :roll: I do set the sprinkler to water over the rain barrels or the gutter when I can. I did the shower water thing last year, but I haven't been this year -- thanks for the reminder MG. :wink:

BTW, soaker hose watering and limiting the watering to beds is useless when the entire rest of the ground is dried out. The water just gets SUCKED right out of the intended area by the thirsty dehydrated earth. :x
Last edited by applestar on Wed Aug 11, 2010 1:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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rainbowgardener
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I don't use air conditioning (!) but that's a good idea about the cooking/ canning water. That could help keep the azaleas alive.

I wish we had a grey water system. The water from the washing machine and bathtubs just goes down the drain. Maybe I need to look into some way to divert that.
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tedln
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rainbowgardener wrote:I don't use air conditioning (!) but that's a good idea about the cooking/ canning water. That could help keep the azaleas alive.

I wish we had a grey water system. The water from the washing machine and bathtubs just goes down the drain. Maybe I need to look into some way to divert that.
We divert our gray water from our septic system. I built a rock bed underground to capture the gray water. Right now, it simply overflows looking like a small mountain brook into a flower bed. While we have been in drought conditions for a period of time, it is only seasonal. Our water well is 700 ft deep with a submersible pump. It is extremely good, extremely soft water. The aquifer we draw from is below two other aquifers which also have good water, but not as good as the one we use. We don't have any water rationing, but we try to use common sense with the knowledge that all commodities and most necessities are only available with a limited supply.

Ted
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pepper4
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It has been so hot, humid and dry here with very little rain. We get a few teasers now and again which isn't helping the lawn, flowers or veggies. I have good sized cracks in my yard and flower beds. I tried watering with the hose but it's not enough. I had to make a decision on what to concentrate on the most and I felt my veggies needed priority even though it was hard. They are all in big pots about 15 of them. It makes me sick to make that decision because my yard and alot of my plants /flowers are suffering. We just can't afford to water them all. I went with the veggies because I feel even though my plants and lawn are important the veggies can be given to some others that may be in need or enjoy them. On a personal level helps not having to buy those things at the store. No air conditioning here can't afford it but have a number of fans which is ok with me because in about 3 months it will mean turning on the furnace and that's a bill I dread to see.
Bambi

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gixxerific
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Just started watering my veggie garden only. Never fear, this drought will be over somewhat soon and we will talking about how to dry out our beds than the frost will come.

At least here it will.

Apple i love the AC comment. %20 humidity is that for real? :wink: :P

Susan W
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I have seen hotter (105 type) here, but not 100 day after day, week after week. Lows 80 if lucky.
Ignoring some stuff, watering some here and there. We have some rain now and again which helps. I had the pop-up thunder storm the other day with goo-gaws of rain in a few short 1 hr. As my focus is on the herb pots tend to those babies daily. And don't even have to water daily with the soil and mulch!

I have much other stuff going on now, and try not to dwell on this weather situation. I have 2 small window unit AC's ,so just hunkerin' down,

As for gardens, the front on the curb looks like crap. Whatever. Next cool (??!!) afternoon need to clip out tree starts that grow 5 ft in 2 months, and the other viney stuff that tries to take over.
Have fun!
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Ozark Lady
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The temps are normal here, usually all of July and August we seldom see below 90!
The water and humdiity levels are terrible though. We haven't had a decent rain since May. We get a dab here and there, just enough to tease.
I am watering my containers, and two beds, forest, and my fruit trees. We have water vending machines, and for 1.25 I can fill a 200 gallon tank, and just haul it home, and use that to water, it goes a long ways, for animals and plants.

Of course the animals get all the water they could need.
And good news... I got 13 brand new baby chicks, yesterday.
When I counted up my chickens and decided that I needed more, I missed that hen in the count. So it was a pleasant surprise. I have a total of 35 youngsters now... not bad, considering only 6 were bought! I figured that I had 12 adults and need at least 50 to keep bugs down. I am almost at my goal of 50.

Ducks have increased, offsite, since all I had was drakes. But now I have 5 quackers, and 13 muscoveys.

I have given up on 7/9 beds, I am just going to solarize them. Put this heat and drought to work getting rid of disease and nematodes! The beneficials normally are heat loving ones. If you can't beat it... use it!
I will soon be starting fall crops... inside, and they won't get planted outside until this drought breaks.

Drought is normal here about every 3-4 years, and so far it isn't as bad as it has been other years. But, it is a waste of water to try to water beds, the rest of the soil just sucks it right away. Only containers are prospering... even the forest garden is beginning to show some wilting, and premature yellowing, but I only water it every other day, and it is in rows. Strawberries are dying in spite of watering, I thought maybe I was washing out minerals.
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gixxerific
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Amazingly enough it has cooled off to below 80 this morning. Supposed to be a high below 90 next Mon. I'm gonna have to break out the winter coat for that one. :lol:

Also out of the blue we got about 2+ inches of rain last night. It wasn't even in the forecast. So much for working in the garden today even my yard is a bit swampy. I must have just stopped raining not too long before I woke up.

I really wanted to get some seeds planted for fall.

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applestar
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This might work out to your advantage. If the surface dries enough, you'll be able to plant seeds AND there'll be plenty of moisture deeper down for the seeds to soak up and germinate.

Recently I was reading on-line instructions for sowing some kind or large seed -- it might have been edamame -- and I thought it interesting that it said to sow after a day with good soaking rain.

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gixxerific
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I thought about that apple but it is way to wet to be in the garden today. Tomorrow though that is another story. :D

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rainbowgardener
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Here's our weather forecast... not a drop of rain anywhere and we already haven't had any for awhile... Very little rain since June...

aug24
Sunny
84°64°

aug25
P Cloudy
84°57°

aug26
Sunny
78°55°

aug27
Sunny
81°58°

aug28
Sunny
84°65°

aug29
Sunny
87°66°

aug30
Sunny
88°67°

aug31
M Sunny
87°66°

sep01
Sunny
88°67°

sep02
Sunny
88°68°
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tedln
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I can always water my garden, but those temps, especially the night time lows, are worth killing for if you are growing tomatoes. Mine have been reading like 105/85, 103/82, 104/84. Later this week we are supposed to start some 88/67, 90/68. My tomatoes are panting in anticipation.

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rainbowgardener
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Yeah the temps are fine (MUCH milder than July was!).... there's still a limit to how much watering I can do. I never water the lawn anyway and this year I have quit watering flower beds and a lot of other stuff, just because I felt too guilty pouring all that good drinkable water out. All I'm doing now is trying to save the veggies and a few shrubs.

Panicle dogwood tree that's probably at least 70 years old is dying in the drought, but it would take SO much water to save it.
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Ozark Lady
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I am about to go mulch, the entire pasture, it is a dust bowl, now if I get rain, all the 'topsoil' will run off. I can't use the moldy hay for this, due to the animals being on it, but, I can use fresh hay that they have just wasted, to try to save some soil.

I am taking the moldy hay, and putting it all on any empty garden beds. It will not break down when dry, but it will prevent the soil there from blowing or washing away.

We had almost no rain in June, or July, and in August so far we got .24 inches, that's right less than 1/4" of rain. One day in the rest of the months forecast we have a 30% chance for rain. Temperatures have just been normal for us. Our normal rainfall for June and July is 3-4" not what we got! August is usually dry, but not usually following 2 dry months.

At least, I don't have weed issues between the beds in my garden, the grass there dried up and died.

I have been watering daily. And the plants aren't growing so great, so now I am watering twice a day, less per time, but more often, and the plants are responding and looking better. But, you can only water so much, so I am limited.

I lost the peaches, I did water the trees, but never enough to equal what a good rain would have done. So most of them just shrivelled up on the tree. But, I am managing to save both fruit trees.

2 tomato plants have have proven themselves, and a third is close behind them.... OSU blue, and Hillbilly are loaded with healthy fruit, pink oxheart is in spurts. Peach Blow Sutton is loaded with fruits but they keep getting BER due to not enough water. The others are barely producing at all. Now that those containers are on morning and evening watering, maybe they will do better. And Hillbilly lost every leaf to an early hornworm, and has recovered to take the lead in production, quantity and size.
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tedln
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We just received the leading edge of a thunderstorm. It is moving from Oklahoma into North Texas. It came in with a bang. Lots of thunder and lightning and torrential rain. Looking at the radar, it shouldn't last long, but another really large cloud is back in Oklahoma. It could be about over or it could last all day. The nice thing is it brings needed water and cooler temps which hopefully means fall is not that far away.

Ted
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applestar
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Ozark Lady, I described this for someone else, but I actually originally came up with the idea for you -- just never had the opportunity to post it as such because each time, it seemed not quite to fit the thread subject.

With all the rocks that you have, I think you might try "mulching" with rocks. The rocks will keep the available moisture from evaporating, shade the roots from the hot sun, and condense any atmospheric and soil surface moisture and, when sufficient, will drip them back into soil.

Even a nurse rock next to each plant might help. Toil and I had a conversation about the nursing/growth supporting effect of rocks earlier in the spring when he observed trees growing huddled next to every rock/boulder in the woods.

tedln
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Thats a good idea applestar. I had also noticed the rock/tree relationship in the woods. My thoughts were the rock must hold snow on one side longer allowing deeper watering as it melts, leaves blow up against the rock and create a deeper mulch over a period of time, tree seed must land against the rock and the rock prevents it moving further, the rock may provide some shade from the hot sun after the tree seed germinates, because the rock is a larger heat sink than the surrounding soil, it moderates temperature swings between night time lows and daytime highs. I had also noticed rocks seem to retain some moisture around them in hot weather longer than the soil away from the rock, it may be condensate if the rock temperature and air dew point are optimum.

Ted
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Ozark Lady
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That is a fantastic idea, especially for trees.
My fruit trees were planted just in the ground, but they kept having roots get uncovered. So, I built small boxes around the trees, these I fill with dirt, and usually some small blooming plants, but the chickens love to dust bathe there. So, all the dirt is scratched out, constantly. I end up putting it back, and then just using boards over the beds to keep the dirt in there. But, hey rocks, why didn't I think of that?

I have decided to gather all the rocks that I can, they look like the ones on a gravel road, but these are my "lawn". Anyhow, I decided to dig a foundation for a new milking room and milk processing area, of 8x16 and once I dig it down alot, just making a drain off from it to the pond, so when I hose it down... it fills the pond a little bit and feeds the algae that feeds the... you know. My goats do not potty in the milking area, so it will mostly be hay and feed bits left over and a couple squirts of milk and lots of water from cleaning milking equipment. But, if I put a pipe in it needs the rocks under it, and to pour the cement pad, I need rocks... aha uses for rocks.

Then I will have to cover the "lawn" with used hay to hold the soil, since it is a hillside. The chickens will have a field day scratching it all around.
Once winter hits, and rains return or in January when we start getting snow, I will pen up the chickens and goats, and reseed all the grass.

Boy, this drought is causing me alot of extra work! But, I just have to save the soil!

The pond is barely damp:

[img]https://i728.photobucket.com/albums/ww281/Ozark_Lady/100_2923_phixr.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i728.photobucket.com/albums/ww281/Ozark_Lady/100_2891_phixr.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i728.photobucket.com/albums/ww281/Ozark_Lady/100_2884_phixr.jpg[/img]
What are the eating rocks?
[img]https://i728.photobucket.com/albums/ww281/Ozark_Lady/100_2903_phixr.jpg[/img]
This plant does survive, but nothing likes it, I can't Id it. It is square stems so mint, basil, nettle family, but what is it?
[img]https://i728.photobucket.com/albums/ww281/Ozark_Lady/100_2904_phixr.jpg[/img]
Goats are still fat, due to hay, alfalfa and grain. Also water is in troughs, not the pond.
[img]https://i728.photobucket.com/albums/ww281/Ozark_Lady/100_2888_phixr.jpg[/img]
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

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rainbowgardener
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DROUGHT!

Our weather forecast still looks exactly the same, all the way out to 9/8 now.... no rain, no rain. This is cruel. Everything is drying up, the big old TREES have their leaves all wilted/droopy. We probably haven't had an inch of rain total since June. Normal would be around 6" in that time....
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tomf
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It rained and it was enough to make puddles. We have not had any real rain since the 4th of July week end.

tedln
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I'm not bragging, but would you believe 4" in three days. It did come down so hard and fast that a lot ran off, but some soaked in.

Ted
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