01 August 2011

hot and dry

Alas, this summer seems to be a near carbon-copy of last summer. Stinking hot (OK, this summer is hotter than last) and no significant rainfall in nearly six weeks. Like last year, the splendid spring showers simply ceased the week the hay was mown. There are plenty of water bearing clouds in the sky which drop their loads on surrounding counties but just not in Floyd county. That said, tiny, ephemeral sun showers lasting five to fifteen minutes have appeared and the electronic rain gauge measures their contributions at less than 5/100ths of an inch. In the last seven weeks, Stratheden has received under an inch and a half of rain, a mere pittance. The weather forecast for today is 0% chance of rain and yet there was a dense fog this morning.

No local gardens have survived unless they have been watered. Mr. Fuzzy trucks water to the big garden every other day; thirty minutes after soaking the plants, the surface of the ground is dry already. The corn is stunted and not producing ears; the sunflowers are about 2/3 of normal size. The only apparent success stories are the Hale's Muskmelon and the Moon & Stars Watermelon, both of which are blooming well and setting fruit.

Alas, the insects have invaded the already stressed plants - three of the four squash plants are killed and now they have found the melon plants. Mr. Fuzzy picks them off with an eight inch long haemostat which goes places his fingers will not. Yesterday a female mantis was spotted - hopefully she is very hungry.

1 comment:

Lausanne said...

Striped cucumber beetles are often the cause of big problems with raising squash. They eat the young leaves, making it hard for the plant to grow evenly, then they settle down in the flowers and burrow into the vines, spreading disease, often causing the plant to succumb to powdery mildew and the like. I try to pick them and squish them early in the morning when they first appear...they are slow in the early morning cool. If they manage to survive long enough to be around when the plant is trying to bloom and set fruit, I go after them when they are in the open flowers with a pair of long tweezers...Satisfying because sometimes they will gather in quantity there and I can destroy every one I find because they can't climb out fast enough if I shake the blossom while I pinch them one by one. Good luck, though it sounds as though they may have gotten to the advanced stage already.