Like half of the continental United States, we in northern Missouri are suffering from a severe drought. According to the University of Missouri Extension Office, last month was the 6th driest on record here in Missouri and the driest since 1988. The average June 2012 rainfall statewide was less than 2 inches. At the end of June, our triple digit heat wave began. The lack of rainfall and relentless heat has continued in July with no relief in sight. All this means is that it’s tough to be a gardener or a plant this summer.
Watering tomatoes is tricky. Too much or inconsistent watering is one of the causes of “black bottom.” The plant doesn’t extract nitrogen efficiently from the soil causing the tomato to rot and turn black on the bottom. So far, I’ve avoided this affliction but I’m not confident that I will totally escape it.
The raccoons left us a few stalks of sweet corn. I now know why. I wasn’t able to water the corn sufficiently so the ears were not even close to being full. You know they were worthless if the raccoons didn’t bother with them!
Our Yukon Gold potatoes were not as large as usual, but I had to dig them a few weeks earlier than usual. Because of our clay soil, the potatoes were baking and in some cases, rotting. I wasn’t upset about digging them up early. I love new potatoes—especially Yukon Gold.
Actually, I’ve been amazed that the garden has done as well as it has considering how severe the drought is. And it has absolutely nothing to do with my skill as a gardener. The plants are growing in spite of me and weather! This is why I’m so fascinated with gardening. Sometimes plants act like people and become determined to grow and produce no matter what obstacle they must overcome. Or perhaps sometimes people act like plants and…
Anyway, I think this picture of the sunflower depicts how we plants, animals, and people feel in this drought. We may look a little weathered, beaten, and dry but we’re hanging in there.