everything's smaller

desertlady

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This year is my worst year ever for having a garden! Im not the only one , because my neighbors garden isnt doing well either. We were talking and notice that our produce is smaller then ever! Some hardly ever grown. Our tomatoes, we will have a big bush with 3 tomatoes:( Peppers grew about an inch , I suspect the wind has done a lot of damge this year. Yes it was hot. I thought the plants I grew were heat loving plants. Any idea whats wrong? Yes they got fertilizer and plenty of water that were wasted. We had NO bees, until our first storm the other day. The only thing thats growing great is my zuchinnis . Thats pretty much all I got out of my garden! Believe it or not Im now planting seeds for fall. :rolleyes:
 

Ridgerunner

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I dont think it is just one element like heat. Its a combination of conditions. Its a combination of things; temperature, wind, humidity, sunlight intensity, insects, whatever.

For example, with wind and extremely high temperatures, water in the ground and mulching may not be enough. The plant may be losing so much water to the atmosphere that it is pumping too many minerals (and maybe the not really good minerals) to the leaves. Or maybe whatever water goes in the ground dissipates so fast since it is so dry they maybe the far root tips are not feeding? Im only guessing this may be whats happening, but something sure goes on.

We normally have a few days each summer where the high temperature is a bit over 100. A few days, not many. And we normally have three or four thunderstorms with RAIN each summer, just enough to keep a bit of moisture in the ground. The last two summers weve had days, even weeks, with temperatures over 110 and no rain at all for months at a stretch. In spite of spending way too much on water, Ive had some pretty bad production in the garden and even trees I planted three or four years ago and watered heavily still died. Since I watered and had the only green stuff in this valley, grasshoppers and rabbits were unreal. They all came here to chow down.

This may sound like a normal summer to you where you are, but it is kind of rough here with my normal techniques, crops, and timing.

Ill quit complaining. I know people in parts of Texas and other places have had it worse the last couple of years. (Its always bigger or worse in Texas. My sister-in-law is from Texas. Believe me I know how EVERYTHING is more extreme in Texas. )
 

bj taylor

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with these extremes and loss of production, perhaps we need to be growing sun loving plants under shade cloth to mitigate the evaporative loss a little. we are going to have to adapt or grow nothing I think.
 

so lucky

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bj taylor said:
with these extremes and loss of production, perhaps we need to be growing sun loving plants under shade cloth to mitigate the evaporative loss a little. we are going to have to adapt or grow nothing I think.
I agree--I feel we need to start out the gardens in the spring expecting the extreme weather, so maybe we are a little more prepared for it. There does seem to be a trend toward unusual weather for all of us.
For instance, last year, if I had planted when it got warm enough, it would have been a month early, and things might have had a chance to mature before the hottest driest weather. I was just sure we would get cold weather again. Didn't.
Maybe we need to start a thread of weather-busting, or climate change-busting ideas. I think a lot of traditional gardens are going to disappear in the future. We will need to be creative.
 

digitS'

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Well, with news of DL's rain, I finally had the courage to read her post.

Here is what I think about protected growing.

Yes, it helps - just any kind of plant protection. You know, we are always messing with Mother Nature. We carry seeds around in our pocket and put them in tilled ground. We fertilize and water. We are acting to protect our plants.

I've wondered how much of a benefit a wall would be to protect plants from the wind. The ag engineers have information about this - how much it reduces wind speed.

I'm not talking about "season extension" - this would be "through the season." We don't have to grow crops in sub-zero conditions in solar-powered greenhouses. Just, what would be the difference between crop yields with plants protected by walls, or BJ's idea of shade cloth? It doesn't need to come down to crop or no crop. If production was 50% better with some kind of protection -- the construction may be well worth it.

Steve
hoop house guy
 

thistlebloom

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You can use shade cloth as a wind diffuser as well as for shade. I have no personal experience with this, but have read about it being used that way. It may work better than a solid wall, as you won't get the turbulence that the wind creates going over a solid panel.

At least that's what I think....:hu
 

Jared77

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I think the shading idea is a good one. I'm picturing wind breaks on a smaller scale.

Another thing I think will slowly evolve is more succession planting. Starting things a bit earlier and doing multiple plantings instead of "ok I've got my seeds all started for this spring" type of mentality which many of us do. The idea would be to plant with the expectation of some losses or decrease in production so the additional plantings make up for those losses.

And if losses are not experienced the gardener has that much more to work with. Which could be donated to people in need, to cut feed costs on livestock (how many gardeners have chickens and/or rabbits?) or sold to help turn a profit, or traded for other things, heck even canned so you don't have to grow as many _____ next year. I experienced that last year with cucumbers. The heat we had I've never had so many cucumbers in my life. I don't want to even think of how many I canned. This year and easily next year as well we'll plant enough to eat fresh but not worry about canning.

I also think there will be more focus on local growing much like the local eating movement that has grabbed the nation. People focusing on what works for them, techniques varieties, etc. What works in Washington State doesn't really transfer all that well to North Carolina. I'd like to believe that this would lead to more of a push to heirlooms and heritage varieties because those varieties are already adapted to a specific area but that might be wishful thinking on my part. Then again I never thought backyard chicken keeping would be the big deal that it is now so there's hope.
 

desertlady

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Thanks for all the information! My garden are now growing like crazy! Thanks to our moisture. We got over an inch of rain the other day. I pray next year garden will be better and less wind..
 

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