Home Gardens – Drougth – Dry Winds – Grasshoppers – What’s Next?

For the past 5 or so years, drought conditions, wind and heat have made gardening on the prairies of Southwest Oklahoma even more of a challenge than usual. We had a early warm spring this year and I was able to plant most garden seeds and plants the first week of March. By mid April I had squash and cucumbers vines blooming and many tiny fruits in the vines.

Summer temperature map


Then as can be excepted in the SW Oklahoma spring time we got a few late afternoon and night time strong thunder storms. Hard rains and hail storms driven by high winds gusting to 65 or 70 mph. In the next days harsh light of day I could find tender seedlings snapped of at ground level, and vine plants like squash and cucumbers turned upside down and twisted beyond salvaging condition. Tomato plants and cages laid on the ground, those I set up and re-secured in hopes the tomato vine will recover. Young tender corn stalks are now on the ground and beyond salvaging.

That’s when I tilled much of my spring garden into the soil and it’s now time to re-plant my garden. Spring time rains come to an end by the middle of May. By the end of May I was seeing the first signs of another hot dry summer. I already had 2 or 3 days above the 100 degree mark. Soil and air temperatures were starting to takes it’s toll on my Tiny Garden.

June proved to be as can often be excepted in SW Oklahoma, many days of dry hot SW winds in the 25 to 35 mph by day then dieing down to 15 to 20 mph at night.

Then in the second week of June with perfect conditions for grasshoppers, I had my first of 2 hatch off of grasshoppers and they began to eat everything in sight that was still green, pasture grasses, weeds and of course everything in my Tiny Garden. An outbreak of Grasshoppers are almost impossible to control. There are insecticides both man-made and natural that will kill grasshoppers, but, by the time the insecticides kill them the damage is done and it seems like every time you kill 1 grasshopper 2 take it’s place.

Drought stricken corn crop


July has seen cloudless, dry windy days in the mid to high 90 degree days with about 15 days this month being 104 to 111 degrees. My 2012 spring/summer garden has been abandon. I will soon mow my garden plot short and hope for enough rain to moisten the soil enough that I can start tilling my garden plot. I hope to till this plot 6 to 8 times this Fall and Winter to expose insects and their eggs in hopes of killing the insects and exposing weed roots to dry air to kill many of the weeds that came up in my garden plot this year.

Grin, such is the life of a SW Oklahoma gardener.

Not from the USA. Please leave me comment about your home town and country.

Why is common sense so uncommon?
Don’t be Shy. Leave me your Comment(s)

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25 responses to “Home Gardens – Drougth – Dry Winds – Grasshoppers – What’s Next?

  1. It’s possible that you’d considered this thought [if so I hadn’t noticed it]: given that grasshoppers are at least as nutritious as any of the plants you’re raising, and given that they’re also avidly consumed around the world, you might ponder the wisdom of gathering them as food. Shouldn’t be very hard to do, and it would increase your bounty while simultaneously cutting out some of the competition. Thoughts?

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  2. My great-grandparents settled in western Oklahoma during a land rush in the late 19th century. The harsh conditions that you mentioned, by familiy lore, drove them on to the almond orchards of California. My aunt traveled back to the home place years ago and retreived some wood from a fence post. Hope she asked for permission… This summer is devistanting many gardens. Hope Fall allows you to enjoy your cool season crops.
    Oscar

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    • Re: hermitsdoor Smiling… Now that should make for 2 worthwhile pictures.
      (1) Poor farmer wondering why anyone would steal 1/2 a fence post.
      the other (2) Her neighbor looking at a piece of fence post proudly displayed on a what not shelf!

      Happy gardening

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  3. Pingback: Yes, You Can Enjoy Country Gardening…Even if You Don’t Like Dirt | Freelance Blog Writing

  4. I keep reading these garden horror stories this year. If it is not one thing it is another. We are getting a heat wave but have been lucky with the vegetables so far. I go out every morning praying that something hasn’t happen to our food. I have been reading posts from all over where people are pulling plants and giving up.

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    • Re; thebeadden | I’m glad to wee you found time to visit my humble blog.
      In general if you live in town or patio (container) garden where you get protection from the dry hot winds, you can save your garden by using a heavy ground cover of mulch and by covering it (your garden plants) with a floating row crop shade cloth. this will shade your crops from the intense direct sunshine heat and give some protection from insect (grasshopper) damage. This will also allow you to water daily if needed. This is just not cost effective on a larger row crop garden planted directly in the soil.

      Happy gardening

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  5. I feel your pain. For the first time that I can remember, We are short of rain here. Especially after a very mild winter, drought conditions are beginning to set it. We have grasshoppers, and not just a couple mind you. I guess it’s time for the chickens to step up and do a little bug control. They love the japanese beetles, but I’ve yet to see them catch a grasshopper. If your tilling, your ‘tiny garden’ is probably not so tiny. It’s hard to see all that hard work destroyed. Will you be able to plant a fall garden or does winter come early to you?

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    • Re: Libby Keane
      Grin.. use caution when letting your poultry flock to free range and eat many insects in a short period of time. Some birds like chickens will stuff their craw full of dry grasshoppers and then they can’t swallow them to digest the insects and will become sick and die.
      Happy gardening

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      • I had no idea! I don’t think we have THAT many grasshoppers. Jeez, I hope not. My chickens are kind of slow, and truth be told, lazy. It’s quite a sight to see me in the garden, chickens in tow, all talking to me waiting for me to pick bugs for them. I’m not sure even I could catch grasshoppers! I will take your caution to heart though. Thanks.

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  6. I went ahead and created a post about grasshoppers/locusts and put in a few more useful links on my blog and a summary of some of the suggestions for dealing with the grasshoppers. https://lloydsofrochester.wordpress.com/2012/07/22/gardens-and-grasshoppers-or-a-plague-on-those-locusts/

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    • Re: Lloyd’s of Rochester
      I think most gardeners appreciate all the information they can get on gardening and insect control
      Happy gardening

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  7. Pingback: Gardens and Grasshoppers or “A plague on those locusts!” « Lloyd's of Rochester

  8. Sounds like you’ve got quite a challenge on your hands. I found the map very interesting.

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  9. You have my sympathy, the Great Plains have traditionally been a challenging place to garden/farm. One could try to blame “climate change” but I am bit of a history geek, as well, and the Dust Bowl of the 30’s is something you might want to read up on. I am about to share links, and I know you are justifiably cautious about them, but I am reluctant to turn a reply into a full-fledged post (although I may put the info on my site later). Sorry about that, but here is the first: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drought_in_the_United_States.

    That being said, Garden’s Alive! has an excellent article (“Getting a Grip on Grasshoppers!”) about natural controls on grasshoppers, and I don’t think it is I should repeat ALL they have said, so (apologies, again) here is another link: http://www.gardensalive.com/article.asp?ai=775.

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  10. Climate change is making gardening and farming harder all over North America. In the Pacific Northwest, we’re luckily not having extreme heat and droughts. Instead we’re dealing with record rainfall and flash floods.

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    • re: canadianveggie – Thanks for your visit to my tiny blog
      I don’t know what would be worse, a drought and a sand storm or being flooded. But, I think floods are worse.
      Happy gardening

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  11. Teresa Cleveland Wendel

    Lots of wind and thunderstorms here too, but nothing near the damage to my garden like you have. I’ll dig my plot several times this fall. Thanks for the advice on dealing with bugs and weed seeds.

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  12. Simple Farming

    We’ve had some very harsh weather in the Central Valley of California as well. Plus a study was just released that we’re using the ground water too fast and may run out in 50 years. Scary stuff. Still we put seeds in the ground and hope for the best.

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    • re: Simple Farming – Thanks for taking time to visit my little blog.
      In keeping with doing what we can to use less water, have you considered the benefits of using a drip irrigation system?

      Happy gardening

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      • Simple Farming

        I have a drip irrigation system and according to the water district, I use less water than my neighbors. Yeah me. But without more like me the entire central valley will be in a world of hurt. Water rights is becoming a huge issue.

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      • Simple Farming

        Yep and have one. The big farms, not so much. Water rights is a huge issue out here.

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        • Simple Farming

          Sorry about all the similar posts. I was working on my iPad and didn’t think the posts were going through. Please feel free to delete some.

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      • Simple Farming

        I do have a drip system and, according to the water company, use less water than my neighbors. Yeah me. But the large farms in the area don’t and are using the ground water at an alarming rate. We’ve also had a huge surge in population because housing and land is cheap, compared to surrounding areas. Add to that the water rights issue and we have a complicated morass on our hands.

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  13. So you’ll be tilling that soil several times before the frost hits? I guess once it’s frozen hard that’s it for tilling. But what a good idea for exposing the insects and their eggs and the weed roots. I didn’t even know about that.

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    • re. wordsfromanneli _I’m glad you found time to visit my humble blog and thanks.
      Yes exposing weed roots and seeds for the birds to eat, and insect larva and eggs to hot/dry and cold air conditions will be a great benefit to any home gardener.

      Happy gardening

      Like

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