I start each growing season with a lot of zeal. A lot of ambition and determination. I’m going to grow everything and I’m going to grow lots of it.
Then August hits.
I don’t know what it is about August, but I should know by now to not try to get anything done in the garden. Something major always comes up that draws me away and I can’t do anything about. Last year it was work travel. This year it was a national conference in Burlington, Vermont followed by my flight home being cancelled and getting stranded there for two extra days, followed immediately by a friend’s suicide. Oof.
In addition to my figurative blogging drought, we’re also months into a very serious literal drought. As urban homesteaders we have access to city water, so even when the rain doesn’t come, we can still irrigate like crazy. We can mostly avoid the damaging effects of drought that many farmers can’t. Right now we’re watering 6 days/week. What we aren’t able to escape, though, is the effect of the heat.
For weeks or months it was too hot for our tomatoes to properly pollinate. We had big, healthy plants (until early blight set in) but no new fruit was forming. The heat also interfered with our sweet corn pollination in July, resulting in many cobs that did not develop at all, some that were underdeveloped, and some cobs that were developed enough to be worth eating, but the kernel development was still spotty.
As others have pointed out, the drought has driven pollinators to plants where we normally wouldn’t see them, such as honey bees on our sweet corn. We got a small planting of native flowers in this spring, and while we haven’t watered them directly in months, most of them are still hanging on and frequently visited by bees, butterflies and moths.
So overall the garden is progressing well despite my negligence and the drought. But it sure would be nice to have some rain.