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Watering During Current Drought From Master Gardener David Wall

As global warming continues to increase (yes, global warming is real),
our summers are becoming unreal. Summers are drought times, with the
only question being when in May or June are rains going to cease until
sometime in September. Temperatures get into the hundreds and stay there
for longer periods. Pollen hardens, and pollination becomes difficult if
not impossible, all of which combine to cause vegetable plants to either
greatly reduce or totally cease fruit production, waiting for cooler
weather in mid to late September.

Temperatures at 104° under bright sun can easily raise soil temperatures
anywhere from 150° to 160° and beyond, quickly drying out the soil, even
if you’ve just watered. Plant roots near the surface don’t last very
long under such conditions. It’s so bad this year, our okra plants which
were 10’ tall last year stopped growing a 6’ this year and pod
production is only 20% of last year, this from plants that love heat.

With the heat and drought conditions this summer, drip irrigation is not
the answer. It tends to cause wet spots and drain water away from areas
that really need it. A spray system gets better coverage. Also, forget
the myth and don’t buy into the argument that moisture on the leaves
leads to disease, particularly if you’re into organic gardening. Just
use a sprayer. Drip systems might save some water, but if the plants
die, what have you accomplished? Right now, we’re more interested in
plant survival and present/future fruit production.

Normally, for lawn and garden, you weekly put down an inch of water
slowly, taking 15-30 minutes to do so. In this heat, add at least
another inch and water considerably faster. Even more waterings, such as
multiple waterings per week won’t hurt. I’m watering 5-6 times per week.

Author: Matt Janson

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