Welcome to my zone 9a habitat garden near Houston, Texas.

Monday, February 27, 2012

An end to drought?

Even though we are still considered to be in a long-term drought, 2012 has begun on a wet note. January and February have brought a good measure of moisture to dry, dry Southeast Texas and to my garden, and, to a lesser degree, to other parts of the parched state. It has been a blessed relief to thirsty plants and to the depleted aquifers and reservoirs.

The meteorologists tell us that we are still under the influence of La Nina which generally brings dry weather and probably does not bode well for our long-term prospects. All the more reason to get those rain barrels and other water collectors in place while the rain is still falling so that we will have water for our plants - water that we don't have to pay for - when the going gets drier.

There is a possibility of rain in the forecast for this week. Already the soil in my garden is beginning to dry out from our last downpour, so another infusion of moisture would be most welcome. Moreover, I am intending to plant some vegetables this week, including putting into the ground the tomato and eggplant plants that I started from seed in January and rain would be very helpful for them.

I feel silly about even considering putting these plants out so early, but I really doubt that we are going to have any more freezing weather, and, if we do, I have plenty of freeze blankets so I can just wrap them up. And I have learned to my sorrow in the last two years just how important it is to get those tomato plants going as soon as possible. Once the temperatures get to be consistently above 90 degrees, the plants begin to shut down production, and 90 degree weather seems to come earlier and earlier every year. My tomato crops in 2010 and 2011 were a bust, but I have high hopes for these plants.

I'm trying five heirloom varieties of tomatoes this spring: 'Black Krim', 'Rutgers', 'Reisentraube', 'Cherokee Purple', and 'Mortgage Lifter'. With any luck at all, I hope to see some good production from these old types. "Luck" would include an end to drought and a continuation of the wet trend that has held through January and February. Time will tell...


  1. I avoided buying tomatoes at Plants for All Seasons yesterday, although I did look for a yellow cestrum. It's raining down here on 1960 at the moment, maybe it's headed your way...

    1. Great, Kim! I was just out at Arbor Gate buying some more fruit trees and it was misting a bit there. A nice shower would be very helpful about now.

  2. I live in SE UK and we have just had a drought order put into place. We have had a very dry 12 months and the reservoirs are only 50 per cent full.
    It makes gardening difficult, but I am sure your area is far dryer than ours. Hope it stays wet.......we are expecting rain on Sunday (I am keeping my fingers crossed.)

    1. Last year was a very difficult time on the gardening front here, Cheryl. So far, this year is looking more promising. I just hope our luck holds, and I'll keep my fingers crossed for you, too.