The Drought Days of Summer

We are about hip deep in dust and that is because we are in the midst of suffering from a drought that has pushed our town into an emergency water ban.  In our town this is a little bit of a touchy subject and that is because some of our towns residents have well water, and others have town water.

So the first thing for us to get into is there is a drought, and what exactly does that mean?

WELL… A drought is when there is a less than average and expected rainfall which creates a water shortage.  This water shortage often leads to water bans, which the town of Plymouth is in right now, in an attempt to lessen the strain on the aquifer. BUT WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? WHAT IS AN AQUIFER? Well the short answer is that is its under ground water, and in our area it was created about 16,000 years ago when the glaciers were retreating.  The aquifer in my area is the sole source of water for not only the town of Plymouth, but also Carver, and since we are nice people we also share with Kingston, Wareham, parts of Bourne and Plympton as well.  Now since there are a whopping 6 towns feeding off of our aquifer, well it is a good thing it contains an estimated 500 billion gallons of water… That’s a lot of water.  So why are people fighting? Well people are fighting because the people in the McMansions want to water their grass with their sprinkler systems, with no care for the environment during peak hours of the day time when evaporation is at its highest so they can keep their grass-green. But if they have well water, what’s the big deal? Well again the short answer is that when these wells are dug, they are dug down into the water table or the local aquifer so while you have private use water, and you would diminish your own water source by over usage your over usuage has an impact on the system as a whole.

So what can we do as gardeners, how are we supposed to keep our plants watered? Well luckily for most of us, most towns do make exceptions for gardens, and the allow the usage of handheld hoses for gardens.  However proper deep water should be done multiple times a day, you have to be sure to allow your soil to absorbs the water also, otherwise you wind up with a layer of mud that makes it difficult for the water to seep in, and when plants are pulling water from the top of the soil they can get reliant on top watering and not use their root systems properly during deep watering.    Here are some of our tips.

  1. Be sure that you are watering your plants evenly, but keep in mind that the soil starting to dry does help them produce a stronger root system
  2. If you are going to water less often be sure to water more.  Some plants have great drought resistance, plants like this you can get away with water 2 – 3 times a week but giving them more water.
  3. AM/PM? Well in my opinion NIGHT TIME is NEVER the right time.  I often get asked about how I keep things like zucchini, summer squash, pumpkins, melons, cucumbers from getting fungus.  Well for starters I never put anything to bed wet, I never water at night putting them to bed wet.  Now this is something that was passed down to me from my father, but working as a Waterer for a large-scale home improvement company I was also taught that AM is always the right time.
  4. KEEP LEAVES DRY by base watering plants you’re doing two things one of which is helpful in times of drought, you are watering the most important part of the plant, the roots.  By doing this you’re not wasting water through evaporation, and you’re not giving fungus again the chance to grow.
  5. Soil. Now we discussed composting at the beginning of the season and we talked about all of the wonderful, wonderful benefits that it has for plants.  Well compost can actually help you hold moisture into your soil as well!!! So not only can it help your plants get beneficial nutrients, as well as help them keep hydrated in the dog days of summer
  6. Warm Water. Water water absorbs into the soil better than cold water, now because most of our outdoor spicket hook ups are only connected to cold water, this means that most of our plants are getting cold water.  Well fear not there is a solution for this as well, rain barrels are becoming popular, no of course if there is no rain, you cannot collect rain water, but the idea behind this in this category is the water in the barrel has time to heat up via the heat from the sun, and with most featuring a hose hook up now, you can connect your hose up to them and you can give your plants nice warm plant bath water.

Now as far as products that can help you in your garden to accomplish those 6 tips some of them including rain water barrels and soaker hoses, those are going to be two of the easiest to locate and accomplish it. The next thing may sound funny, but I have heard from other homesteaders and gardeners alike that using the filling from clean unused diapers in your garden can help water retention because the particles are made to absorb moisture.  Now if you’re looking for a particular brand, I can’t help you much when it comes to garden, but as a mom I can tell you that as an experienced mom I choose Luvs.  Had to throw that spoof of the commercial in there being a mom of three.

All of these things seem so simple, but what else can you do?

Well that pot of pasta or potatoes that you just boiled, instead of just pouring that water down the drain, drain it into another bowl or pot and then take that water out to your plants.  THE SHOWER!! Oh the shower! Well the next time you hop in to get off all that wonderful dirt that we enjoy playing in, bring in a couple buckets with you.  You can use up to 2 gallons of water during your shower if you are using a new shower head.  That water going down the drain, while it may not be ideal for drinking, there is nothing wrong with letting your plants have it.  And our final though is AC units! Considering that we are in the midst of a drought, we all have those AC units running, and after doing a considerable amount of reasearch I have found that there is no evidence that suggest that AC condensation will harm your plants, not so comfortable with it, than use AC condinsation for plants that you don’t plan to consume like flowers.

Tomorrow morning at 11 AM EST we will be holding a LIVE CHAT on our Facebook page about the drought and talking about these tips.  Please come join us!

As Always from all of us here at the homestead



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