So if you haven’t been completely asleep you have noticed that the weather has been pretty freaky. We are in a pretty awful drought. Couple that with intense sun because of our mile-high altitude and heat that started way too early this year, our gardens have been getting the crap kicked out of them. Most of the outdoor gardens (Those not in the greenhouse) have gotten terribly scalded. I am going out on a limb and predicting a 50% loss. Our melons got fried, our peppers are dropping flowers and not producing peppers and we have lost all of the hard bean crop. There may be some soil issues involved because I had to take a year off because of surgery, but flat out, it is way too damned hot and dry. The carrots NEVER germinated over two consecutive plantings. The potatoes and sweet potatoes and some of the onions are doing well and we had a great garlic harvest. Inside the greenhouse everything is doing well, although the tomatoes are not going to produce nearly what we are used to. When the temperatures get over about 93 degrees they don’t readily set fruit. There is some out there but nothing I would call a “success”. If our garden is any indication what food is going to be like going forward I would seriously recommend learning how to can and store food long term. We are all going to get a lot thinner.
As I am not a person to give up without a fight, we did some studying of the gardens. Why were the greenhouse plants doing so much better than the outdoor gardens? As near as I can figure its because 1. There are fans keeping the air moving and 2. There is 40% reduction shade cloth on the roof and the walls. If the sun is too intense and the temperature too hot, then wouldn’t eliminating one variable help? I’m betting yes.
As a result, Aaron and I set to task to put covers on all 18 of the outdoor beds. These covers will include quarter inch galvanized screen to help deflect hail and also the same shade cloth that is in the greenhouse. Next season this ought to reduce some of the stress on these poor plants. In the past, as long as the plants got to get their roots down and established, high heat was tolerable. This year, the heat started the end of May and hasn’t let up yet and we are yet to get into August. This set up will create something of a roof over the beds and (fingers crossed) give the plants a chance to get established and rooted to better help with these extreme temps.
So everything we do out here is an adventure. One of our pigs is off to freezer camp. Two weeks ago we put 50 chickens in the freezer. The turkeys are looking more and more like turkeys, and the goats are getting bigger. The vegetables are going to be a disappointment this year. Because we rely on it for our food, I will be going out to look for other bulk sources to fill in the gaps. If you are a farmer or a gardener, anticipating success “next season” (if there is one), is indeed optimism. We will get potatoes, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchinis, pumpkins, celery, basil, oregano, sunflowers, and green beans. Still not bad, but an awful lot more was planted. Melancholy is the word of the day.