hanging in there

We're officially in a severe drought in this part of Wisconsin.  No rain of any measurable amount in my yard since May. A few spots in our county/area had rain last weekend (which is great!) but all the systems missed us.  Well, I did wake to the sound and smell of raindrops in the wee morning hours Saturday but all was bone dry by sunrise.

I started out this dry spell feeling grateful that we had options that farmers do not.  I have a garden small enough to water by hand, and enough diversity in what I grow that some failures are expected and manageable. But it's starting to feel pretty dire.  As much as I can water, I can't cool down the air.  We've passed 100 degrees three times already (and expecting today to be close), and have had stretches of 10+ days over 90.  My tomato blossoms are dried and dead on the plants, any fruit is at the bottom of the vines.  Raspberries have mostly ceased production, and even heat-loving pepper plants are wilting.  My sunny, south-facing yard has some downsides after all.

I have had enough cukes for ONE jar of refrigerator pickles, sigh.
Insect and critter pressure is high too, as when you do have irrigated plants they seem to be beacons of green.  Cucumbers have bacterial wilt (spread by insects), and the beans are being hit by Japanese beetles and some other disease.  I lost almost an entire eggplant PLANT this week, which must mean a fairly desperate rabbit, and I drove off a woodchuck with a shovel--who would not leave even when a dog barked in his face. The only fruit that looks successful this year are our pears, and we are discussing ways to dissuade the horde of squirrels that have found the trees....

And that's just us.  Driving out of town a couple of weeks ago, I mistook a small cornfield for garlic:  the leaves are so curled they are pointy and narrow.  Trees are losing leaves, pines are turning brown, and everything smells like burnt, crispy grass.

After the last break in the heat, I bucked up and replanted for later summer and fall crops, who knows what the weather will do: it seemed worth a shot.  But I realized yesterday that I've kind of lost the sanctuary feeling in my garden, instead of the place I go to feel hopeful, it's a source of worry.  And that sucks.

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  1. Sara, I hope the rain we're getting this morning is coming your way. I'm giving it all possible encouragement to do so.


    1. It worked! It was so spotty we didn't get much, but I'm not complaining!

  2. Not so funny, Sara, but my daughter thought a corn field was a garlic field too...in June. I have been thinking about you and my other blogger friend Amanda (an urban gardener in Ypsilanti) and wondering who would be getting the worst of this drought. I guess I am glad I am not on city water, what with all of it that I have been doing lately. I have a feeling it is going to get worse before it gets better.

    My tomatoes and eggplants are completely happy, though. No rabbits or woodchucks in sight.


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