growing, or not.

last winter and spring all i could think about was what my garden would look like, what food it would bring to our table throughout the spring, summer and early fall. i imagined the digging and  planting then proudly walking through the soil in bare feet, just admiring my strong plants. and that was just what i did! i dug, sweated, planted, meandered, admired, harvested, and ate in that garden. i loved it and showed it off proudly to friends and neighbors. mike and i would visit the garden together every evening to collect our days bounty.

until.

until the sprinkler was no longer enough water to feed my plants. it was hotter than hot, the rain hadn’t come in too long and our water bill had quadrupled. we were forced to stop watering my precious garden.  the plants dried up and (mostly) stopped producing. then they began wilting…that is one of the saddest sights- rows of plants wilting in the heat, unripened fruit clinging to the last bit of nutrients the soil has to offer. for awhile we diligently collected water from our showers and any time it did rain, there were buckets collecting rain water to use later. but it just wasn’t enough.

just look how pretty my garden was:

(keep reading for some GREAT tips!)

peas just beginning

climbing/growing peas

(i’m not sure the peas liked being in the boxes, next year they will go in the ground!)

strong bell pepperslittle watermeloncherry tomatoes- we ate thousands!

ever-so-useful mint

i am thankful (of course) for the food we did collect from our garden, but it’s so sad to watch so many plants die before they should. i already have plans for how to make the garden better next year. some of those plans start with the way we “close” the garden this year- tilling, laying out compost & straw, etc. but also, this article will help greatly in preparing, planning and caring for my future gardens. including how to prepare your soil, plan your layout, which plants to choose, and a video about the planting technique called three sisters garden. i hope it helps you too!

so now my garden is dry and sad and we count ourselves lucky to find fruit in there. with the little spurts of recent rain, we have still had strawberries and mint  (in containers, so they hold the water better) and some cherry tomatoes (which i think could grow in the middle of a desert)! my basil, however hated the soil in our garden and barely grew or produced at all. next year, i think i’ll put the basil in containers too, since that has worked for me in the past. this article about growing herbs in containers will be very useful to me next year!

what tricks for gardening in unforgiving soil, dry weather (read: drought), unrelenting heat do you have up your sleeve? please share any advice, articles, tricks and/or ideas in the comments below! i’d love to hear from you!

(thank you, allison for the great articles! keep em coming!)

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One thought on “growing, or not.

  1. Soaker hoses! They are an absolute must-have in our unpredictable, drought-ridden Midwest climate. Especially when covered with mulch and used on a timer in the early morning hours, they will reduce your water bill tremendously while keeping your garden moist & happy. I’m the laziest gardener ever, but I still harvest a good amount just because of my watering setup.

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