Thursday, April 06, 2006

Thoughts on a dry spring season

I almost hate to mention the dry spring we're having here, because I know some people are having the opposite problem. But I can't ignore it. This current spell of drought is a big issue for me, since we've been planting so much.

I seem to spend all my time watering things. This is nothing new; I've been complaining about lugging hoses around since the very first month I wrote this blog! But right now it's especially acute because there is just no other water, other than what comes out of the spigot.

But the trick to gardening is attitude. For at least one reason, I'm glad it's so dry this spring. That's because last year we had a very wet spring that caused the old pear tree to get a horrible outbreak of fireblight. This winter I pruned off the blighted branches, dipping the pruners in bleach water after each cut, which helped a lot. But what that tree really needed was a dry spring to give it a chance to get ahead. So this is a good thing!

And here's a reason I'm glad I have to lug hoses around: Organic gardening requires, above all else, vigilance. The first year I grew vegetables, I had them on an automatic soaker-hose system. As a result, I didn't spend enough time walking around in the garden. And as a result, the garden went straight to sh*t. Walking around with a hose in hand is like reading the morning paper--it gives me the day's news.

Just today I was watering our new orchard and I noticed that a Very Hungry Caterpillar had eaten the new leaves off my Arkansas Black apple tree. And then I noticed a second Very Hungry Caterpillar about to do the same thing to my Smyrna Quince! Not so fast, fellas. Off you go.