Thursday, June 4, 2020

It is dry out there!

I was surprised that the tiller was kicking up dust when tilling the new garden.

I visited one of the weather sites and it claimed that we had 0.3" of rain since May 20 and the evaporation potential had been 2.2".

We had good rain before May 20 and the top layers of soil were saturated, but pulling 2" of water out of the top 12" of soil has an effect. For one thing, plants cannot access the fertility of the top layers when it is dry. They can have roots that plunge deeply into the subsoil. They can mine that deep water. But the nutrients in the most fertile soil are not available to them.

So, today was a day filled with hoses, and pumps and repairing hoses and blowing the accumulated dirt out of lines that fed the drip irrigation and maintaining the filters and....

The bottom line is that I ran the drip irrigation in the orchard for four hours. My emitters are nominally 2-gallons per hour.

An important part in coaxing the maximum amount of winter-hardiness out of a fruit tree is to bias the growth potential of the tree into the early part of the season and then let the growing points cease extending in July and August so the tree can start storing carbohydrates.

Letting the growing points stall-out in June due to dry soil, only to light back up in late-summer when the rains return is an invitation to winter kill. It is far better to keep the soil moist through June and early-July so they can deplete the available Nitrogen. Then the trees can metabolically prepare for winter in an orderly way.

Dactylis glomerata
Orchard grass pollen is my kryptonite. Orchard grass is pollinating now. Forays outside involve antihistamines and eye-drops.

Antihistamines make me stupid. Please cut me a little slack for the next week or ten days.


  1. Good inflammation. Now I know. Need to get some more and try again.

  2. Good info. It is why I come here.