Last year was a hell of a year for gardening. It was so hot and dry that watering every single morning still did dick all to get my plants to survive. The ones that did got taken down my a hoard of grasshoppers. Remember when I said the apocalypse was coming and now we have a pandemic? Yeah. Feel pretty stressed right about now! *nervous laughter*
So, all fall and winter and I thought of things that I would need to make my garden better than last year, even if it meant just survival. Now that I’m scared to go to a grocery store, I need this garden to produce so it can feed my family and these products are paramount to that happening. I hope.
Pests ruined my garden last year and I’m having absolutely none of it this summer. So, I’m planning ahead to ensure that my garden is protected.
That means netting for all of those delicious veggies that flea beetles love (lettuce, bok Choi, cauliflower) and extra when the grasshoppers start evading. There won’t be much I can do about corn and grasshoppers as the netting will never be high enough, but I’m working on a plan to rid my whole yard of grasshoppers so the bastards don’t beat me, again.
Here’s what I bought:
A pop up tent for those veggies that will grow a little taller. I’m weirdly excited to use it.
Some good old fashioned floating row covers. I didn’t buy any hoops, but may change my mind if it becomes a huge pain in the ass.
Our summer was dry last year. It was a horrible year that came with huge cracks in the earth, threatening to swallow my baby trees whole. This year, I’m not fucking around. I have a good stack of boxes that the cats are enjoying right now in the basement ready for me to mulch up that garden and keep the soil moist and cool so that my little babies will grow. If it turns out to be a normal year (doubtful), it means I’ll have to water less. If it turns out to be a horrid year, I’ll be able to make a better impact with my watering so that the soil will stay moist (*cringe* sorry) longer.
I like to water in the morning as the sun is rising, but if I can’t get out of bed before 7 (and thus the day already starts to get too hot), I water when the sun goes down so as not to waste water. It’ll just evaporate during the hot, summer day.
While we would like to buy mulch that you see around trees in parks, you don’t have to! Cardboard or shredded newspaper will do the trick without costing money.
Side note: I often call my plants babies, but I also eat a lot of them…that means I’m eating my babies.
I’ve lots of room for my garden to grow, but I want to make the most of it, so I’m buying trellises (and making some with an old staircase banister) and tomato cages to hold up my plants and make them stronger. This may not seem like it has to do with insects or drought, but it’s somerthing to make my plants stronger and better and let them flourish before grasshoppers and the like can take them down.
I thought these were bullshit until I read Shifting Roots post about them on Instagram and now I’m curious to try them out, myself! I’m ordering just a couple to see how well they work (because I’m always skeptical right up until it actually happens). Maybe I’ll get some better and stronger plants before the grasshoppers get to them! It’s all about healthier, stronger plants this year.
I ended up using them during my seed-starting process and they helped my peppers along! I can’t wait to order more next year.
We originally wanted to do an extreme rainwater harvesting system, but a tractor purchase, two trips and a bathroom reno later and we’re feeling like this isn’t the year to spend thousands of dollars. *Guys, I wrote that before this pandemic started and hell, was I right*
But, our weather was DRY. That means anytime it rains, even if it’s less than a millimetre, I want to catch it and use it. So, we’re buying more rain barrels and making sure there’s one under every single spout this year.
Even if it doesn’t rain all summer and it turns into monsoon season in the fall again, if we get a filtration system, we can use it inside of our house!