Last year we had a garden and had turned the soil, tested it and added as required, lime, worm casings, nutrients, etc. and planted our garden. We would feed it with occasionally with a nice tea we made and watered it as needed. We sat back and waited for our wonderful harvest and was totally disappointed. Even the tomatoes barely produced, squash was adequate, cucumbers almost nonexistent, even the radishes didn't grow! We have researched everything and the only thing we could come up with is that we watered the garden with water that had been treated. There was no bypass on our softener system to avoid it because if we turned it off, then the untreated water would go through our house before it would get to the garden. I didn't want to have the bleach the lines all over again everytime we watered the garden. Could that have been what killed our garden? We are going to do raised beds this year and have set up a rain barrel to collect rain water to use. I will dig another well if I have to just to use for the garden. Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!
Joined: Sun Feb 20, 2011 1:27 pm Posts: 1 Location: Asheville, NC
I live in Asheville. Even though we are in the same state, we may as well be worlds apart due to our respective zones and climate.
Are you sure you needed to lime your garden? My understanding is tomatoes like acidic soil and I generally don't have a problem growing them unless it's really dry.
The one thing I can think of that has definitely impacted my garden late last year and in 2008 were the La Nina conditions that put us in a drought and produced record breaking temperatures. We were in Wilmington in mid-late June and already there were heat index advisories being issued. It was getting very dry. 2008 was brutal. As much as I love gardening, there's a limit to how much supplemental water I'm going to throw at it before tossing in the towel. I water with straight tap (no well) and as far as I can tell, have not had any problems using that as a supplement. Last summer we transitioned into a strong La Nina and rains have been fewer since but by the time the impacts arrived most of my tomatoes and cucumbers were already in. Last year in Asheville, as well as Wilmington saw a record number of 90+ degree days. It got very hot and dry late in the growing season. My squash production was off from 2009 because of it. I could almost hear my squash calling out for mercy in July/August. From my experience, cucumbers and tomatoes are the first to show signs of drought. If the cucumber is bitter, you're too dry. My first cucumbers were delicious and plentiful, but the ones later in the season were bitter and fewer.
This upcoming year, we are facing the same issue. We are currently in a moderate to strong La Nina that will persist through at least the late Spring. According to the Drought Monitor, you're not in a drought yet, but it's knocking at your doorstep. La Nina's can have wild fluctuations with temperatures but generally we can look forward to above average temps and below average rainfall. Summer and fall will have us into neutral or weak El Nino. The question is if the rains will return in time to salvage the growing season. My guess is they will not.
I had a mixed bag last season and I can trace it to the end of El Nino and the launching of a strong La Nina that brought drought and very high temps with it. I'm willing to bet you might be in a similar boat.
While it was hot last year, and we were in a drought, but by the time the drought was severe, most of the garden was already dead. Watered everyday becasue of the the drought, but to no avail. Never did see any insects either which was really wierd. Most of the plants had good foliage, although not a lot of flowers on the peppers, cucumbers, or beans. None of it made any sense. We planted some eggplant that never grew any bigger than when we initially planted.
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