Soil can help to offset drought

Dad talks to his son about drought and gardening

Dad: “So how’s your garden doing?”

Me: “Great! It’s been a really good growing season – plenty of sunshine and the pests don’t seem bad at all this year. We’ve got zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, and all the other summer vegetables practically coming out our ears! How’s your doing?”

Dad: “Terrible! I’ve given up. Calling it quits for this year.”

Me: “Why? What happened?”

Dad: “It’s this drought. The soil is parched and cracked and I can’t keep up with watering it! The vegetables are all dying and the weeds are taking over. I quit!”

Me: “I know this really good gardening book called Garden Imperative. The author recommends using lots of mulch to improve the soil and retain moisture. Did you mulch?”

Dad: “No…”

Me: “The author also recommends adopting no-till soil management practices. You know… retiring the rototiller and instead building good soil from the top down. Did you do that?”

Dad: “Nope…”

Me: “So let me guess… you did what you always do, and switched the tines around on your tiller, to have it make long, raised beds while it pulverizes the soil and kills beneficial soil organisms.”

Dad: “Yup…”Me: “And then those long raised beds dried out even faster because they have more surface area, and they’re harder to irrigate because the water runs right off, right?”

Dad: “Yup…”

Me: “And now the only plants growing on your nicely rototilled beds are weeds?”

Dad: “Yes, I’m afraid so.”

Me: “But it’s all the fault of the drought?”

Dad: “Darn right it is!”

 

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