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Best Secrets for Drought Proofing Your Vegetable Garden

Hi, everybody, how are you today I am going to share my screen because I have some slides today, I’m really excited about this one. Because this is kind of a year where a lot of us are not getting rain. Um, we got three pins the other night, which helped. I mean, it’s better than nothing. And we’re very fortunate to get that I have neighbors that only got 1/10. And then other neighbors, they got none. So we are very, very fortunate. So I’m very, very, very blessed. Now, okay, so let’s see if we can do this. I am going to talk about drought proofing your garden today. Because you never know when that drought is going to happen.

So I’m gonna start technology technical difficulties. All right, here we go. All right, drought proofing your garden.
I’m really excited. Okay, so I am Mindy young. I feel like this is a very, very important topic. Because a lot of times I am at my farmers market stand or I get people come to me with questions and they’re very, very concerned about it not raining. You know, you know, you rain is just something that you can’t control. You just can’t control that. But I’m going to share some things with you today that you can control. Alright, so let’s get into it. Who the heck am I? Who am I? My name is Mindy young. I am all of these things. I’m a millennial farmer. I’m a master gardener, certified master gardener and strategist, I’ve been gardening my entire life. I am also a former Extension educator, I quit my job to stay home with my three kids who love laying in the dirt with me. And since then we’ve started our own vegetable business from our successful four acre garden. So when I quit my job, I expanded the garden. And it’s not very big, but it just it did start with a little backyard garden. Like I said, I’ve garden my entire life and all different aspects of it containers in the city when I was in college, to large gardens to small garden just starting out again. So it’s just I, I’ve familiar with every scale when it comes to a garden. And you can use any of these strategies I’m going to talk to you about today, with any size of garden that you have, hey, I’m inspired to help others enjoy growing and managing their successful garden. So I’m glad you’re with me today that tells me that you are interested in this topic that you clicked on. So let’s get into it with here’s the deal. Here’s the deal. Like I said, we cannot fault we cannot control rain, and we cannot control the environment. It’s just we just don’t know. We just don’t, hey, that is under God’s control. God is the one that controls the rain. Okay. However, we can control how we choose to be prepared and use best practices to drought proof our gardens. All right, we can control that part of it. So let’s get into those methods. I’m going to share with you some tips and tricks for drought proofing your garden. Alright, the first trick I’m going to tell you is if you can plan at the early end of your planting window, whatever zone you’re in. So for example, I’m in zone six A you can google your garden zone and see your location and see what garden zone you’re in. But it really does make a difference. I’m kind of smack in the middle. So I’m in Kansas, you can kind of go by that and kind of figure if you’re south of me you’re going to have a a garden, a larger window, you’re going to have warmer temperatures and you’re going to be able to plants at a larger window than me, all right, if you’re north of me, you might have a smaller window. Alright, so that is something to keep in mind. So planting on time planting at the early end of the planting window is a tactic to controlling the drought, the drought conditions, because chances are, we’re gonna get be getting rain, we’re gonna be getting some rainfall in the spring. If we don’t get any, that’s not good. And I know that there’s some places right now, it’s May that haven’t been getting any in a long time, and but they have been getting some spotty rains here and there. So if you get your plants on the ground, and you pour your seeds in the ground, and you can hit those rains, you’re actually bound for a better start. Okay, does that make sense? So planting on time, this little publication right here, you can Google, it’s a garden planting guide. It’s a case state publication. But like I said, we’re kind of right smack in the middle. So it’s kind of a good rule of thumb, a good guide to follow, and then you can tweak it for your own territory. Okay. Another example of a garden planting calendar, if you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I do not use garden calendars, I use soil temperature. However, using a garden calendar is a good rule of thumb, it’s a good guide to planning, okay, so if you kind of know that, you can plant green beans, early May, which we planted ours, the end of April. So we planted our super early and they’re already up there already coming up. We did that to hit the early farmers markets. And we always kind of plant super early to. I know it’s a risk, but to see if we can get something to grow because sometimes it works. And we can hit that early farmers market and be the first to market with those things. So as you can see here, this is mainly an early planting, early planting range for the early crop the earliest crops. So as you can see, there’s, there’s the Cole crops, there’s beans, cabbages, chard, all of those early crops that are dubbed to be early planting, I notice there’s some not on here, it’s just mainly a snapshot. So something like that, I believe that this is in that publication, the planting guide. There’s a longer version of it with more crops. So again, just use that as a guide. Like I mentioned before, I really don’t use this I use I plant based upon soil temperature. So if it has been a warm spring or winter, and the soil temperature is warm enough, then we normally go ahead and plant stuff a little bit early, so that is perfectly fine. That’s another topic for another day. The rule of thumb here is that you can plant on the earlier end of your range and your zone to to hopefully hit those early spring rains and get that moisture that your seeds and plants need to germinate and grow. All right. And the rule of all of this is to use water wisely. Alright. Use water wisely. Water efficiently. Keep track of how much you use during a drought. Mulching mulching is extremely beneficial mulching with straw or hay or other organic matter leaves, compost, whatever you have hidden can keep the moisture in the ground for those plants longer. Alright, it’s not a it’s not an end all it’s not going to keep it in there forever. But it will keep it in there longer and help help the moisture stay in. Okay, so that is a good practice. All right, plant water efficient plants. All right, you can Google what water efficient plants are that’s another topic for another day. Remove leafs a weeds are are competitive with your plants when it comes to new trance and water, okay, nutrients and water. So they are competition. So you want to try to keep your area weed free, we will talk about that more in a little bit. And then apply water only to plants root zone. Okay, so we will talk about all of these things in a little bit. All right, here are some examples of some ways where you can store water, if you do get if you do get a rainy season or a big rain, you can take water barrels and actually catch the rain on there. So, here are just some pictures. As you can see, there is a
there are the three barrels here, on this picture on the left with a spout on top of the first one, it is ready to to funnel and that water and then it funnels down into the barrel. All right. And on the right here, you see this barrel here with the same kind of similar setup with the funnel. Alright, so that is just just a simple way to gather water to where you don’t have to use your ground water that you pay for. Okay, let’s talk about efficient watering, or what does it mean to be efficient when watering. Okay, so it’s mainly means to give the plants what they need, and not any more than that. So what we mean by that is to first water to the depth of the roots, which is about six inches to eight inches. All right, timeliness about one inch to one and a half inch per week. That is kind of a rule of thumb, kind of in the middle, you want to probably give more in the sandy soils, the sandy soils are going to dry out more. And then also when it’s really really hot and the heat of like July, August, when it’s 100 triple digits. You want to water a little bit more than and you want to water in the early mornings, okay, you don’t, you don’t want to water in the heat of the day. Alright, because that water is just gonna evaporate. And it’s hard on your plants, it’s hard on your plants, and you want to avoid watering at night. As much as possible. I know sometimes if you work during the day, it’s hard to if you have to work in the early morning hours to it’s hard to meet that timeline of only watering in the early morning hours. But if you need to water at night, we have watered at night and it is fine. But the rule of thumb is that watering in the early morning hours, the plants are gonna get more good out of that water in the early morning hours than in the evening hours. All right. Also limit water limit water runoff by pulse watering. All right. And that is just that is just basically what all this is about efficient watering only giving the plants what they need. Right water according to plants means not on a schedule. And we will talk more about how to know what a plant how much water a plant really needs here and a little bit. Okay, here’s a picture of a garden that is mulch. Okay, so this looks a lot like my garden growing up when I lived with or when I grew up at my home home with my parents. This is kind of looks like a garden that we used to plant. Now you can see it like the whole garden is in straw and we actually used to do this and that that helps with the weed control and it helps with the moisture and helps keep the moisture into the ground. So it’s really it’s really a good practice if you have the resource to do it. All right, it helps conserve soil water. It helps control weed growth and it keeps soil temperature uniform. Alright, so you won’t have like hot temperatures over here. It’s hotter than actual what your what your plants can handle. Okay, so during the heat of the summer, your plant your soil is going to be cooler under a mulch. So that is good too. And also reduces frost damage if you have a late frost and it helps with reducing that frost damage on your soil and your plants roots. Okay. All right, let’s talk about weeds. Weeds is another stressor. I don’t know how many times I get, I talked to people about weeds through the season, it’s weeds is probably one of the number one stressors of gardeners. And getting that weed free garden is off. Because you know, summer is a time where we go, we, we take little trips, we’re very busy with all the things that there is to do in the summer. And if we miss a day, it’s hard to get back sometimes. So mulching helps with that, using black plastic or clear plastic, whatever you choose. As you can see, I have some pictures. On the left, there’s a weed free garden. And on the right, there’s a weed friendly garden. So which one do you think is going to be better under drought conditions for your plants? All right. Honestly, it’s going to be the weed free, honestly, not because it’s prettier. Because those vegetables that lettuce and the picture is does not have competition with weeds. All right. So weeds are a competition, weeds are a huge problem when it comes to competing with plants for nutrients, and water. All right, I’ve said this before. But it’s very, very important to understand that having weeds in your garden compete with what you’re trying to accomplish, what you’re trying to grow the plants that you are trying to grow for vegetables. It you know, wouldn’t it be better if you didn’t, if they didn’t have the the competition, they would do so much better. And I know that for a fact, it’s much better, it might take longer to accomplish the weed free garden and more work. But the weed friendly garden is going to take away from what you’re trying to accomplish. So keep that in mind. Let’s look at the big picture here. All right, so we’re in a drought. And just imagine we’re in a drought. And we have to start watering. All right, you have to start watering. So let’s talk about some factors to this. We have to factor in the size of area to water, we have to factor in the size and density of plants, the soil type. Because some soils hold water in longer than other soils, we have to figure out the traffic patterns and the maintenance requirements of our watering systems, you know is it going to be is it going to be a lot of maintenance like a lot of moving around that type of thing. Oh, that’s gonna take you more time. And then also, if you have a water source, you have an easy water source to water your garden. This includes location and costs. Okay, I know I’ve talked to lots of people over the years that just don’t water and they would just rather lose their garden and come buy vegetables for me at the farmers market then pull water to their gardens. So I mean that’s just something to keep in mind. And watering. hand watering is good if you have a small area or sub containers um, washing plants is good removing insects allows for close inspection of plants. So I think the Scouting is very important scouting of your plants because it helps you to know what your plants are doing. And it helps you to be prepared and you catch stuff early. If you are going to have problems such as looking for eggs like bug eggs on your leafs that will tell you if you are going to have a bug problem soon and it can help you get all that all right. And then pan watering. You can check your soil if you scout for or in your soil. Use the finger test and stick your finger in and see how dry that soil is. If you do that daily, you’ll have a better idea of how often you will need to be watering. Alright, so what do you use when you hand water, you can use a watering can like the lady in the picture. Or you can use a hose like my mom did growing up and still does. Hose attachments, we’re going to talk about those nozzles a little bit. Oh, here, we’re going to talk about them now.
Okay, how’s the attachment. So we have our friendly and squeezed nozzle. We have the twisty nozzle. These are the two that I grew up using. My mom had this hand squeeze one. And that’s the one that we use most often. And then we have the fancier ones that you can link then. And then finally, we have kind of the shower nozzle here in the yellow. So I’m sure that you’ve seen these. They’re pretty common. So, I mean, what can I say? Any of them will work just fine and dandy. Okay, another option if you have a larger area, you can use sprinklers. So, some tips when you’re buying sprinklers, you want to make sure coverage and pattern match the area to be watered. Alright, and you can actually look for that when you’re when you’re buying sprinklers on how big the range is going to be. Okay? You want you want metal or high impact plastic sprinklers because they’re going to be more durable than lightweight plastic or aluminum sprinklers. All right, and then you want to choose sprinklers with nozzles, or emitters over sprinklers with punch holes. Alright, so choose the sprinklers with nozzles or emitters not punch holes. Okay. Here is an example of an oscillating sprinkler. It’s the one where we used to we used to put on our swimsuits and run through in the summertime. Yes, we had one growing up, not for the garden but for the yard. So that is what that is you can definitely use it in the garden. It’s good for open areas. It can cover large areas, more water is lost to evaporation and when that is a downfall. So if you want to use it, maybe choose a day where it’s also windy. I know in Kansas that is difficult. Try to do it in the early morning hours. Better quality ones have a reversing spray bar to decrease over watering. All right, that is a. Okay, a plus. All right, rotating sprinklers. It’s a one where it turns it rotates. All right. And then we have soaker hoses which we use most often in our vegetable gardens. It’s really good for where the soil needs complete soaking our soil here where we live is a little bit on the sandy side in some places, so it holds water and longer. So it’s it’s really good. If we can get a whiff, we can soak the soil really nicely. And then we can we don’t have to do it as often we can just wait a couple of days before we turn it on again, if we need to. It decreases weed growth because you can line it up across your row at the roots. All right, and then it doesn’t like spray a large area because when you spray a large area, you’re spraying the weed seeds as well. And you have a better chance of those coming up as well. Okay, so when you use the soaker hoses, it actually decreases the growth. It’s not so good for widely spaced plants. Okay, because you’re gonna get you’re gonna be wondering everything in between and that’s not really very, very eco friendly. And the output depends on available water pressure we have experiences. The further away we get from our water source. The lower pressure we get for our soaker hoses, so that is something to keep in mind also. Hey, these are here’s a picture of soaker hoses. It’s a spongy rubber tubing with tiny pores. It’s not very expensive, can be attached directly to the water faucet provides uniform watering. Right here’s kind of what it does. You’re on the left you can see the water seeping out. It does take go on longer time to water. It’s a slower watering process, but that is really okay. Hey, here’s another picture using soaker hoses Okay, so you can hide soaker hoses under your mulch or use with your black plastic. You can flush hose, you should flush hoses regularly by removing the end cap. And we have made this mistake. All right, you need to take your soaker hoses in before winter hits. Don’t Don’t skip that your soaker hoses will freeze and bust and it’s not good, you won’t be able to use them again. So definitely take them in. Alright, this is if you have fruit trees, I just added this in. For new new trees you need to water immediately after you plant them. It’s very important whether you are getting rain or not. They need a good soaking, rain soaking watering when you plant okay. It will help speed the root establishment and consists of keeping the soil moist, three depth that includes all the roots which can be pretty deep on a tree. All right. So that is important. All right, let’s talk about how much water how much water. So as I mentioned not enough water is harmful for the tree or your plants. But too much water is bad as well. So, if your soil is somebody, you can feel the sogginess then it’s going to you probably need to hold off and let it seep in before you water again. Okay. I’ll also as I mentioned, mulching is key and retaining moisture. Alright, so if you can mulch around your plants and your trees, then you’ll be keeping that moisture and, and you’ll be good to go. Alright, you can check soil moisture. And here’s how. First get a shovel or a garden trowel inserted into the ground to a depth of two inches, right two inches, then move the blade of the trowel or the shovel back and forth to create a small narrow trench. And then you can use your finger to reach inside the soil and touch the soil. If it’s moist to the touch, then you do not need to water. All right. If it’s dry, you probably should water. All right. So as a rule of thumb, after all, everything that I’ve that I’ve explained over the past several minutes. I don’t know how long I’ve been talking. But I know I’ve been talking a while preparation is the key to a successful garden and we cannot always control what happens. Okay? So preparation is key. It’s always good to just prepare for a drought season. And that you’re going to have to water it’s always good to just have your hoses on hand, your systems, whatever you’re going to use. It’s good to just have that on hand to be ready to go if you happen to need to water extra, okay. Now, gardening in a drought is not the only stressor gardeners face, let’s be real. Alright, so as a farmers market vendor, I talk to a lot of people every week, people who have tried to garden, right, they’ve tried, they have failed. And then they come to me for their produce. And when they come to me for their produce, we end up talking about what happened in their garden because I they start talking about it and I want to know more. I want to know why. What happened what, let me help you, I want to help them figure out what happened so that they can try harder next time. Okay, or that they can know what needs to be fixed for next time. So some of these that I get talked about a lot is weeds. You know, we talked about the weed free garden is very hard to maintain. It just gets away from you. And it’s just very hard all right time. Maybe they go on vacation or maybe they started a new job and they realize that it’s taking more time than they originally thought to grow garden so maybe they feel like they don’t have time. Maybe they’re They have disease or stressed plants. And they don’t know how to manage that, hey, maybe they have problems with insects, squash bugs are really bad and our area for zucchini, I hear that a lot. zucchini and squash, cucumbers, squash bugs, kind of rock habit around here. All right, other pests,
wildlife, deer, deer come into people’s gardens and eats, raccoons come in to our sweet corn patch. And we have to trap them humanely, too, to keep to save our sweet corn patch. And then finally, some people just are stressed for money, they, you know, they, maybe they don’t have the money to put in the garden because putting in the garden takes input costs. So you have your cost of seed, you have your cost of maybe fertilizer that you’re going to use. And also, maybe you have cost of watering if you have to water. And again, that’s why a lot of people that I’ve talked to over the years, they will just give up and say well, I guess I’m just gonna throw in the towel and not do any of it. Because all these things stress me out so much. And I’m just done. I’m just done. That’s what I hear a lot. And while I’m happy that I could use the business, that they come to me for their vegetables, I still feel very bad because I want them. I know how much that they want this to work. And so I want to help them as much as possible. So with that said, I’ve created something. Because I know it can all be so overwhelming to the point where you might just feel like throwing the towel. And maybe you feel like you need a boost. Alright, maybe. What does that look like? What does needing a boost look like? Alright, so let’s talk about it. Let’s so you get really excited, you’re gonna grow a garden this year, you get your seed, and you get your space all planned out and everything. And you get your plants planted and your seeds planted and everything. I was talking to a little girl just last night, she planted a tomato plant. And then the wind came and broke it. My heart just busted. It was so sad. But it’s okay. Because sometimes we just need a boost. Sometimes we just need a boost. And what does this look like? It looks like getting prepared, waking up and taking action, knowing what to do zapping the overwhelm that comes with all of these stressors, identifying the stressors and the problems and creating, eventually creating that garden that can support you and your family through any season. What if you could have that boost to accomplish all of these things? Okay. Let me introduce you to gardeners spark gardener Spark is the boost you need to gain confidence and energy to keep going with your garden. All right gardener spark contains answers to burning questions and problems you might be facing that are holding you back. And maybe making you throw in the towel. There’s tricks to help you get out of your head and back into your garden. Because we all know that that can happen in strategies to help you succeed and grow the garden of your dreams. So what does spark gardener spark look like? You get simple bite sized modules and the main areas of overwhelm. Alright, so we talked about drought, budget, time, resources, wildlife and Zechs weeds, all of the main areas that overwhelm you, you will get bite sized answers to those problems. All right, achievable solutions to those problems I just mentioned, identification methods. You can take this whole program to the garden with you and solve your problem right there. Troubleshooting questions. You’ll get troubleshooting questions, answers to questions that you might ask. And the best part of this is that you get a peace of mind knowing that you are not alone, and that you can succeed You can succeed. So if your answer if I asked you do you need a boost? You say, Yes, I need a boost, you can join the Gardiner spark by clicking on this link here, make sure that you save your login information so that you can log back in, because I’m going to be continuing to add in new things, all right, because there’s always something to learn with a garden. And in the gardening journey, I’m still learning new things, and I’ve been gardening for almost 40 years. I mean, you can’t not learn, continue to learn new things. It’s just part of this life. Right. So if you need this boost, if this is the boost you’ve been waiting for, click the link and join me. All right. And thank you for joining me today and making it through this presentation. I hope that this has been helpful to you, and that it can help you prep for your next drought. Or the next drought, which I believe we are in right. So hopefully this was timely information for you. And that you will be well on your way to x successful gardening year even with this drought that we’re facing. Okay. Here are some more places to find me, my website shop. And then again, this is the link to the gardener spark. Again, just highlight that and plug it into your browser and you can go right to that, that page. You can also find me different social media tick tock, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest. So again, thank you so much friend, for joining me today. I do I do. Okay. Again, thank you so much for joining me today. I really, really hope you have a wonderful gardening season, and that this was the boost that you need to keep going. Sometimes we all get in comfortable with our routine or we get in a rut or we just get planned overwhelmed. And we just need some boost to energize us to keep going to that next step. Okay, maybe a new challenge. So I hope that this has helped you, friend. If you need anything, please reach out. And I am not far away. I am right here. Ready to help. All right. So hold your dreams, own your life and I’ll see you down the road. Bye