Summertime Drought

According to the U. S. Drought Monitor, our corner of Massachusetts is officially in a severe drought.  This is a classic application of Murphy’s Law, since we actually planted grass in the front yard this spring. Those efforts were doing reasonably well a few months ago, but we haven’t had a good rain in what feel like forever, and now things look like this:

In case you were wondering about our garden irrigation habits, I aim to make sure that the productive food areas get an inch of rain per week, while ornamentals, herbs, and the grapes get a half inch. I keep an eye on the rain gauge and make up the difference with water from the rain barrels or the hose. 

Things are so dire right now, though, that I will have to start watering the flowers more regularly as well. To wit, the hydrangea I planted last summer:

And that’s in a shady spot. Did I mention that we are also on something like Day 5 or 6 or a heat wave? (Well, Boston is. Newburyport gets the benefit of some cooling sea breezes if we’re lucky, so it has’t been an unmitigated disaster as far as temperatures are concerned.)

You know it’s bad when even the lamb’s ear patch can’t take it anymore:

On the bright side, the hot, dry weather is perfect for curing onions in place:

It’s much easier to just let the leaves die back naturally and give the onions a little pull to uproot them — and then let the sun do the rest. Rumor has it that we might get a little rain and a break in the heat on Friday, So I’ll have to bring these in before then to keep them dry for storage. Many of these should be dry enough to cut the leaves and store by then, thanks to the intense sunshine and heat we’ve had for the past two weeks.

I’d also be remiss not to mention that our garden would be in very bad shape if not for the generous hands of friends and neighbors who came by to gather eggs, feed the cat, and generally keep Death’s scythe at bay while we were on vacation. It’s been a difficult growing season, but hopefully we’ll have a harvest to share with our helpers soon!


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