Its so Dry, Even My Cacti have died

That’s what I tell folks when they ask about (the weather) My Atlanta Garden. This is supposed to be a Zone 7b climate, and yes, we are known for our hot humid heat, our dog days of (Indian) summer, and even our dry spells. But rarely do we get them all at the same time. Or so early.

Can you tell where I watered ?

The heat is typical – for September / October, but usually late Summer / early Fall also provides us fringes of tropical storm bands to break up the sweltering heat. Today is June 14th, flag day (I think), and (according to my calendar), I have not seen any (measurable) rain in …. wow. It’s been so long, I hadn’t yet started keeping track of the rain this year, when it last rained. It’s easily been 6 weeks, and I’m pretty sure closer to Two Month’s since last my ground was wetted by wain.

In that time, the high temperatures have not been less than 94*F during the day, or lower than 80*F at night. (ok, maybe there were, like 2 days in there when it was 87/75, the same 2 days it was overcast and we saw a ‘sprinkling of rain’). Needless to say, it is brutal. My poor air conditioner is crying for a break, as the kids manipulate for cooler temps (low 70s) and dad advocates for the health of the heat pump (upper 70s) inside the house.

Outside, well, this is where I need help. I’m no master gardener. I have brown (Ga red clay) thumbs, and am guaranteed to kill just about anything, given a chance. While I stand tall knowing most of the plants in myatlantagarden have fared better than in (nearly) any other year (the very first year on the property was best), they are all succumbing to the heat, and dying a slow sadistic death.

IMG_5248By far, the onions have produced the best, seeming to thoroughly enjoy their rock garden bed. The peppers in the same bed have mixed results. The Green Bell Pepper plants put off off (2) small fruit early, additional fruit is nonexsistent. The hot peppers, on the other hand, took longer to get started, but continue to put off small habeneros. The squash (yellow Zuchinni) plants (also in this bed), while not flourishing, are fruiting regularly and providing delicious Zuch’s.

IMG_5117Up in the cinder (raised) garden, the stalks have grown tall and thick, and the ‘apples’, (according to my buddy and 5 year old friend Will) are numerous, and big. Only a single Brandywine so far, but oh my, was it good. No, not good. Fabulous. Magnificent. Mouth Quenching. Juicy. (I could go on and on, but suffice it to say it was better than any store bought tomato I’ve ever had, even if it was on store bought bread, salt and mayo…)

The plants were so big, and the fruit so heavy, even with the cages and cord as support, two of the plants toppled over, snapping the stalks. Yes, while this is sad, thankfully I have oh so many more.

I must admit to being bewildered by these bushy budding …  (I ran out of B words) plants. When I prune them, snapping off the lower limbs or any active suckers, I can can just stick them into the media bed, and they will root. Easy as all get out to propogate. Yet keeping these same plants healthy and productive into the harvest stage is nearly impossible (for me it seems). I can only assume it’s the blistering heat. The shade seems to have helped, and plentiful water is always provided, still, the soaring temperatures seem to be just too much.

None of the beans really produced, at least not for long, and the cucumbers are just now starting to thrive… I’m so confused.

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7 thoughts on “Its so Dry, Even My Cacti have died

  1. Well I I sneak out at night and water my plants and by morning they look like they’ve just been rained on . But the water from the tap is not as good as rain 😕

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    1. Hi Julie! I do something similar here, only I switch up between ‘dusk’ and dawn. Daylight lasts until, almost 9ish here, so I try to get out around 6P when possible. This gives the plants a chance to soak up some MUCH needed moisture before nightfall. Other days I’m out there at 5a, as dawn is breaking. I don’t like to do ALL nights, as wet feet (roots) can lead to mildew and fungus. I also ONLY water the soil, and not the leaves for the same reason. Furthermore, I bury the nozzle head into the mulch so as to prevent ‘splashing’ which can also lead to diseases.

      And you’re absolutely right! Tap water is not good for plants as it has chloramines in it. This is actually worse than just chlorine in your water, as the chlorine ‘bonds’ inside the dark pipes, and takes longer to breakdown. Thankfully, sunlight does all the hard work for me. I catch rainwater (when it, you know, rains) and hold them in a 300 gal IBC tote. When it doesn’t rain, I can fill up that same tote with water from the hose, and just let it sit in the sun a few days to ‘gas off’ the chlorine. 5 Gal buckets work to (:-)

      Thanks for checking in, and keep the comments coming!!

      J

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      1. Normal? Not sure what THAT is anymore, Haha. But yes, Once upon a time, I could set the clock by the afternoon shower we would receive. But even these past few years, though extremely dry, have been wetter than this.

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