When Its Extremely Hot And No Rain Is In Sight What Is A Gardener To Do?

By Jannie Vaught

Water, pull unwanted grass, plant some radishes and learn and plan for that cooler wet weather.

Here’s whats growing in this permaculture garden, beets, radish, the peas that were supposedly OK to plant now died the baked inn the sun death. So more will go in next week, still trying, The stored rain water is coming out of storage this week, And I’m still having to get some water on my compost as it is dry, and I want to be using it soon. I have had many text’s, messages and Help!

What are these bugs,what do I do now?

Take another look at your garden space.

Are you in a new location?

What has been done to this land in the last years?

Heavy grazing by horses and goats? Chemical herbicide and insecticidal use?

Over tilling?

Sometimes we get enthusiastic and start gardening and planting right away in a new homestead or piece of land only to be deeply disappointed by crop failure, the invasion of insects eating everything, and no water. We continue to learn by experiencing and actually getting that shovel in the ground. When we have this happen its a good time to observe, take a deep look, and remember it Always The Soil. You may have to seriously restore the soil that has been neglected or overused.

The web of life starts under your feet!

You may have to remove invasive plants, or even a few trees. Use Keyline design to see where your high points of land are and how the water drains, or runs along your land. Do you have a spring or seep that need restoration? With the internet you can go to mytopo.com and type in your address and get a satellite or street view of your location and the elevation. Now your looking from above and getting a better picture of the land. Take that picture and copy it. Now using a ruler or protractor or compass, drafting tools you can make curved lines flowing the elevation. Now you can install swales and burms along these lines that will capture water as it flows off your land. Along with this begin by planting Native grasses, plants and trees. Trees and mid size bushes grow great on the berm or the hill of the swale. Start by doing some breaking up of deeply hardened soils, using a keyline plow, a broad fork or even a low tilling tiller, just to brake the compaction. Now plant your natives.

You may need Compost teas sprayed over the area and applications of rhizomes, and encourage worms by having composted plant material, for them to eat. You are now making dinner for the creatures under your feet. And in a nutshell this is Permaculture, permanent agriculture and restoration of soil. When these are done and seasons come and go they will become stable support systems for the Web of life. They are now making their own dinner! And you only need to observe and keep adding as you use up nutrients from gardening.

We plant, the plants feed and grow and make our food, the soils become hungry, we feed twice yearly and this keeps the rhythm flowing. And how about the insects? Through the years I have been doing permaculture. I have a small flock of laying hens, these are my helpers as they love bugs. I was visiting with Josh Rhode at the LLano Feed store and were talking about the grasshopper and Blister bug problem. He said people always let their chicken in their gardens to eat the hoppers and all the bugs! Well the light came on, as I use my flock also. When the garden is small, new plants or seeds they are not allowed in. When the plants are big I let them in the morning, then I use a little coaxing and they return to their chicken yard. And I have very little grasshoppers and no blister bugs, but many soldier bugs which tend to live higher in the plants where the chicken can’t reach. I have planted flowers and sorghum for the birds and bees, and there are an abundant amount of Bumble bees and Mason bees this year along with the honey bees. I also keep my birdbaths full of water for them to drink and some muddy areas for the butterfly to get minerals. And this took me 9 years to do this, it is not instant and

I’m still implementing restructuring soil and encouraging the shade trees to keep the extreme heat we go through abated as best I can. Maybe it is time to let somethings set aside for awhile as you restore the soil. Then plant your gardens. It will save you time money and much frustration.

Growing green with Jannie

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