Gardening Problems : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

We live in South Texas and I started my gardening skills this spring. My plan was to grow enough veggies to help us get through this thing. I'm finding out that IF there is no water during this time period, my garden is NOT going to make it. At this point, I'm having to water every day! Anyone else in a hot area thinking about this or experiencing this problem?

Also, my peppers are falling off the vine before they're ready. Any ideas why?

-- learningtogarden (, April 29, 1999


Not much you can do about water, except:

1) get as many rain barrels as you can, divert downspouts to barrels. When full, transfer water to other barrels or containers, catch more rain. (Yeah, I know, lived in West Texas--11" per year, falls on one or two days!) Use rain barrels especially made for purpose (see or search on rain barrels), large garbage cans leach toxic stuff from non-food-grade plastic.

2) Mulch. Not much you can do now, unless you know where people have dumped bags of leaves, pine straw, grass (make sure those folks haven't used herbicides or pesticides on the grass). Dump your own grass clippings on the garden this year. If you can afford it, buy straw for mulch. Save all the leaves you can this fall. Can use whole newspaper sections, several of 'em, thick as you like, hold down with rocks. Beware--mulches can pose a fire danger in drought. Black plastic is another alternative but doesn't let the soil breathe underneath, kills/discourages things like earthworms, and no water gets through.

Peppers--are the little peppers lying on the ground or just gone? Any sign of something biting them off? Any sort of rot? Could be one of a number of things==try searching Alta Vista on "bell AND peppers NEAR cuiltivation."

-- Old Git (, April 29, 1999.

Thanx Old Grit for the info. A town close by gives mulch away free. Would this work. There'd be no way of telling if it had pesticides on it though, huh.

The peppers are just lying on the ground. They're falling on their own. We've had absolutely no problems with bugs this time round. Thank goodness.

Thanx again and I always enjoy your posts.

-- learningtogarden (, April 29, 1999.

Lots of time the first peppers on the plants just fall off...then new ones come....especially if you bought plants from a nursery that already had blooms or little peppers. Keep them watered and fertilized and you'll still get plenty. The best plants to buy don't have blossoms yet. I would suggest buying soaker hoses for your garden..the kind with the zillion holes. Not wasteful of water like sprinklers or watering by hand and will soak a 3'+ area wide and deep enough that you don't want to walk there or you will sink in. Only waters the roots where the water needs to be. We just have one 100 foot one that we drag around but it keeps our Mo. garden growing thru the droughts. Watering at nite with the soaker hose will also save water. Hope this helps...we had to learn a whole new way to garden in rocky dry Mo. after coming from a sandy loam garden you you stick your arm into down to your elbow...still learning!!

-- MUTTI (windance, April 29, 1999.

Thanx Mutti. I read that if you water at night you'll have a problem with fungus. Is that true? Have any of you experienced that? The info on peppers was encouraging. I did buy them from a nursury and they did have blossoms already on. Does anyone know where I can get non hybred seeds? Not the ones that come in a package deal but where you can pick and choose?

-- learningtogarden (, April 29, 1999.

Dear learning: Possibly your peppers are dropping due to extreme heat/drought. Watering is probably best in your situation with drip lines- wastes no water. Also- diesease problems are lessened as the leaves stay dry. Puts the moisture where it's needed. You can water any time of day with drip lines.

Mulch does wonders- old hay, cut grass, leaves- whatever you can get will help conserve moisture. Pile it on!

Truly amazing to hear of your problems- I'm just planting peas, spinach etc, now- still have hard frosts in the a.m.

-- anita (, April 29, 1999.

With the soaker hoses the water goes on the roots and we have never had a problem with fungus...Lord know we have the high humidity here to cause fungal diseases...have a big problem with the grape vines. You can get non-hybrid seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds in Mo. e- mail for free catalog at We got one and if seemed to have everything you might need by single pkt or Year 2000 sets.

-- MUTTI (windance, April 29, 1999.

Texas A&M have the best of the gardening info on the internet. Don't have the url but you can find it through a search, Next best one is U of NC.


-- Taz (Tassie, April 29, 1999.

<I'm finding out that IF there is no water during this time period, my garden is NOT going to make it.>

That's one of the reasons I left Houston and moved to Oregon. At a farm supply store, you can purchase BIG, enclosed tanks to capture rainwater. 1500 gal tanks cost about $800, but you can get smaller variations also. Sometimes you can buy them used at half price. You need to do some retrofitting to your gutter - Have to put a hole in it and attach a pipe from gutter to tank. Otherwise, based on my experience living in TX, you won't have an adequate water supply for gardening. Good luck.

-- Cheryl (, April 29, 1999.

Soaker hose works great in hot dry Sacramento Valley. Years ago when we had water rationing, we used our gray water in the garden. It kept the plants alive and growing. Gray water is what you have left over from washing and rinsing dishes, clothes and people. We used to stand in a bucket when we took a shower so we could save as much water as possible.

-- Homeschooling Grandma (, April 29, 1999.

This site has some useful tips on growing tomatoes. So does this one.

A more efficient way to use what water you have is to dig in one or two empty #10 cans near each plant, with small holes punched in the sides and bottom. (A nail will do fine to make these holes.) Set the top of the can about an inch above the ground level so dirt won't run into it. Fill the can(s) with water and it will be delivered to the soil beneath the surface with very little loss to evaporation.

You can make your own cages for the plants with ordinary rough lath, chicken wire and a stapler.

-- Tom Carey (, April 30, 1999.

Hi, learningto

I'm in south central Texas, and I'd say that if you aren't able to store up a couple of month's worth of water for the garden (or get the water some other way, eg. a well with windmill or solar powered pump) you shouldn't plan to get much during the summer.

You might, however, be able to get winter crops. I don't know how much of your food you're planning to grow. Up here at 32 degrees latitude I grow wheat, rye, oats, fava beans, spinach, lettuce & other salad greens, cabbage & other brassicas, beets, turnips, and carrots during the winter. These can almost always make it without water, and if you're in extreme south Texas I doubt you'd have a problem with them suffering from frost damage. Also, Irish potatoes, although an early spring crop, can usually be grown with very little watering if you build up a very heavy layer of mulch as they grow.

The hard thing about growing your own food is getting enough calories. Typical garden vegetables don't supply enough. If you have very limited space, Irish potatoes are a good bet for producing the most calories in the least amount of space. If you live in a house with a pier and beam foundation, the potatoes can be stored under the house and will last well into the summer.

You might also be able to get an early crop of corn if you grow drought-resistant varieties.

-- Gal Gardener (, April 30, 1999.

learningtogarden; Try this site for HELP. scrool down and read the underlined sites in page. Especially the one about greenhouses and solar cookers.

I have just completed my greenhouse from plans fron that NC Ag service site, REAL EASY to build, and it will help control the heating of your plants from the sun,by a 80% covering. Plus because it would be covered you'd get moisture(humidity) to water your plants... Have you considered getting a waterbed and use it as a garden watering tank??? Have fun with your garden; Furie...

-- Furie (, April 30, 1999.

Congratulations folks on a truly productive thread. This is the reason why I began to read this forum. All the negative flaming sometimes makes me want to quite but there is still truly useful information here.

As for watering at night, you won't have any trouble if you keep the water off the leaves. A soaker hose or carefully watering at the base of the plant will work fine. Mulch Mulch Mulch!! It's the best way to conserve water. Sheep

-- sheep (, April 30, 1999.


Willhite Seed


Burpee and Fordhook

All these places have open pollinated seeds, online catalogs, and free print catalogs.

Be aware that many places are getting to where they don't ship plants now for Spring gardens, due to the time of year, so you may be stuck with seeds only. I'm not sure about the fall planting season.

Keep in mind that many things harvested in late fall, stored properly, can keep for months. Even some onions, tomatoes, squash, potatoes, carrots, turnips, etc. (I am referring to dry storage without refrigeration.) Depends on the variety of the plant and your climate.

For veggies only, Willhite has the best prices.

For a better selection, try Burpee.

For an amazing selection of every kind of plant on earth I think, try Gurneys.

Be aware that fruit trees and vines take 2-3 years to bloom, even if bought as a two year plant, sometimes more.

All vine veggies including gourds (except huge things like watermelon, but including squash etc.) can be trellis'd, to make the garden vertical and save space.

I strongly recommend you go get the book "square foot gardening" by Mel Bartholomew. If water, space, money for soil additives, time to work in the garden, and quantity of food are concerns for you, you will definitely want to do high-yield oriented gardening and not traditional ag-style gardening.

PJ in TX

-- PJ Gaenir (, April 30, 1999.


Your link doesn't work for me. Can you try again, please? Thanks.


-- Mercy (, April 30, 1999.

If you can afford it, a solar-powered well could solve a lot of problems. I just drilled and hooked one up last weekend at my retreat on the Texas Gulf Coast. In bright sunshine, it produces 4 gallons a minute, although it's much less if it's overcast.

Altogether the project cost about $7,500, which was a lot for me. Still, it solves all the Y2K issues about drinking water and irrigation even if the power never comes back on.

The thought of lugging water home from streams or lakes and purifying it for drinking never sounded like any fun to me.

-- Doug (, April 30, 1999.

Wanted to write and say thanx to all the wonderful responses I've gotten from this post. I have learned alot and plan to put to use my new knowledge. I have been amazed at the amount of useful info I've received and hope we all can continue to pull together and help each other prepare for the unknown. Thanx again guys and God Bless.

-- Sandra (, April 30, 1999.

I wouldn't recommend you using black plastic as a mulch unless you cover it with something else to keep it from absorbing and transmitting too much heat to the soil. I use pine straw (sometimes with plastic and sometimes without) about 12 inches deep (without plastic) and about 4 inches deep (with plastic). I really prefer not to use the plastic.


-- Gerald R. Cox (, April 30, 1999.

Ms. Mercy;

Try using:

and then scroll down this page to:

"How to raise your own food". Opening that page will, in turn, open another page. Look down that page to the link referencing the solar cooker and one for the plans for the greenhouse.

I hope that this will help you.


-- sweetolebob (, April 30, 1999.

fish ponds-&-gardens go hand-inhand. the silt from drain-off makes veggies gro-like crazy.

-- al-d. (, June 20, 1999.

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