Planning for drought.

March 14, 2013 | 5:03 pm

I’ve had enough sledding and hot cocoa! I am ready for spring! My friends in the southern states have already started gardening. I follow their Facebook posts with garden envy, while my garden is still under a blanket of snow (sigh)! In November, my family and I moved from Kansas to Iowa. This year will be a new adventure; I have new soil, a new climate, new zone and new challenges.  I can’t wait!

The snow has been fun (says the kids) and needed. It has brought relief to this parched land, but we are still in an extreme drought, according to the US Drought Monitor. If you go to their page you can see the drought conditions for your area. As I look out over the snow-covered garden, I wonder if I should brace myself for another year of intense watering? I may complain a little about watering but I know that no one feels the effects of drought more than our farmers and ranchers.

Water will continue to be a large agricultural issue, as our wells, aquifers, rivers and ponds remain low.  We can put the seed in the ground and provide it with nutrients, but without adequate moisture our crop harvest will be lower. This ultimately affects our food supply.

Considering future drought issues, I can save myself watering headaches by choosing landscape and garden plants that are drought tolerant. Check with your local county extension office for a list of drought tolerant plants for your area. Also, most of the seed catalogs will list drought tolerant varieties. Installation of rain barrels, soaker hoses, drip lines and sprinklers are on my “to do” list for spring. Incorporating these tools will ensure less water stress on my plants and me.

In these last few weeks of winter, I will finalize garden plans, complete the seed order, and try not to complain about the 1-3 inches of predicted snow for the weekend. I think I can handle one, just one more round of sledding and hot cocoa!

 

Hurry up spring!