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4234 Views 7 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  mom2allboys
For those of us in between Chicago and Milwaukee we are in the midst of a HORRIBLE drought. We gotten rain once in the last 6 weeks and it was only about 30 minutes long. Grass is brown and dormant. My yard is completely matted down by the dog simply walking around and I haven't needed to mow for weeks.

I have been taking the time to water my garden every other day and things appear to be moving along at an acceptable pace, but I'm not going to be producing any award winners this year. :)

My garden is 100 sq foot, raised bed. My tomatoes, cucumbers, egg plants and peppers all have shredded mulch.

Are there any additional tips that anyone uses for severe drought scenarios to help a garden succeed?
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abeeson20, I am in the same thing here in middle tennessee, we had about 1 1/4 inches of rain from 2 different light showers about 3 weeks ago and it has been about 2 months since any serious rain. you are to have a raised bed as all my beds are raise and are 12 to 14 inches deep. These are lasagna beds I built last fall and some this spring. You did not say how deep your beds are, but in a drought like now it makes all the difference, In other words more depth, and the different layers of mulch holds the moisture better. You have done the correct thing by adding shredded mulch, but how much? The more the better, I usually use 3-6 inches of straw much, and right now its about 6 inches deep. Of course as you already know this helps greatly from water evaporation. As for watering, I use soaker hoses, and beginning this year some "drip" irrigation which I am really liking. I water twice a week in this drought, but I water deeply. I will feel down about 6 inches and it is good and moist. I like to water less often and water deeply. If plants are watered often, but not deep then the roots will always go where the moisture is and in shallow watering then the roots will be shallow, whereas water less often, water deep and the roots will go deeper where the ground is moist and cool. This works for me..
Good luck, and lets pray for rain!!
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My raised beds are 8 - 10 inches deep, but I used a newspaper barrier to build them a few years ago, so realistically my plants are probably punching through into the earth now.

My mulch is a solid 3 - 4 inches deep.

I've also just recently added a vegetable fertilizer. My hope is that the fertilizer will help with root development during this drought. I know that's a regular concept with grass, so I'm hoping it is true with my vegetables as well.....
abeeson20, so sorry to hear the shortage of rainfall in your area. It reminds me of the time I lived in Texas for 2 years. We could not even grill because of the dry weather and risk of starting a brush fire. It sounds like you are taking all of the correct steps to ensuring that your garden is getting plenty of water. Mulching will help retain moisture and keep the soil cool. Also, try watering sometime after 5:00pm instead of mid-day. That way the plants would have absorbed most of the water by the next day and the roots won't be at risk of boiling if you watered during the day. Hope that helps.

Happy Gardening!
well abeeson20, seems you are doing all the right things, I can't see anything you can add. I really don't see how my garden looks as good as it does and the produce I am getting from it. My yard is done gone..but I don't really like eating grass anyway!lol, good luck with your garden and hopefully we all will get some rain soon.
Abeeson20, I agree. I too am between Chicago and Milwaukee by Lake Michigan. I've been watering twice a day. Some items are going great. My contender beans however got burned up and i was able to salvage some, bu that was it. everything else is growing nicely, though I'm concern about my cukes and potatoes, they don't like the heat as much. This drought is driving me nuts!
Has anyone been having problems with wasps hanging around the bird baths? I guess they need water too, but the birds are afraid to use the bird baths.
Has anyone been having problems with wasps hanging around the bird baths? I guess they need water too, but the birds are afraid to use the bird baths.
Don't have a bird bath but I have seen them hovering around some of my smaller plastic containers I use in the garden with water in them. The birds are going nutso when I turn on my sprinklers, I swear I've never seen so many birds in years than I am this year!
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