East Texas drought conditions call for careful watering
GREGG COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - With the heat already here, East Texas farmers and gardeners alike must deal with trying to keep their plants alive and producing.
The traditional East Texas summer can often be accompanied by triple-digit temperatures, which dry out soil and roast vegetation. However, some varieties do well in the heat.
“Malibar spinach, longevity spinach, and certain grapes. About all that we can do is make sure it gets proper nutrition and apply the correct amount of water,” said Longview vegetable grower Larry Ferguson.
The Gregg County Texas A & M Agri-life Extension Office says we’re already in a drought.
“Hay production. We are seeing a lot of people only getting one cutting right now so far, a lot of dust flying. It’s not growing as well as it should,” said Agri-life agent Shanequa Davis.
The simple solution for productive gardening is not only water but knowing when to apply it.
“When you’re watering, how much you’re watering, you don’t water in the middle of the day. You’re losing a lot of your water to evaporation. Early in the morning is best,” Davis said.
Even in triple-digit temperatures and in drought conditions, there are ways to keep your vegetables going.
“Mulching around your plants. You can use wood chips, you can use pine straw,” Davis said. “It maintains and holds that moisture in the ground.”
Larry Ferguson does the important work of producing vegetables for the needy and elderly.
“Food is very important, and proper food is more important,” Larry Ferguson said.
“With the economy, the price of food, people are realizing they can grow vegetables in their own backyard,” said Gregg County master gardener Melanie Ferguson.
Consistent water and moist soil are the keys.
“Harvest your vegetables if you can early in the morning. On an agricultural aspect, we’re just hoping for rain,” Davis said.
Raised bed gardening and greenhouse gardening are also effective means of keeping plants producing in hot weather.
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