Home Vegetable gardening in a Heatwave and Drought

The last few weeks have been hot and dry. The waterbutts emptied a while ago and we’re likely to have a hosepipe ban soon. In the meantime we’re trying to be economical with the water but know that if we don’t water, thing will not crop as well as they could.

The potatoes have already died back and are being dug up as we need them. We haven’t grown potatoes at home before so there are no records to compare the crop. Judging from everything else, my guess is that we’ve had half to two thirds of what we would normally expect but, assuming we grow potatoes again, we’ll be able to check.

The raspberries are very poor, what there is are small and dried up, we’ll have to go blackberry picking to add to the quantity, on my walk this morning, it was obvious that they are already ripe and ready to be picked.

Similarly the French Beans which are struggling, fighting blackfly and not really getting enough water. I put a couple of canfulls on each day but I think they need a lot more.

The runner beans are flowering again, all the flowers fell off in the recent heatwave and they’re only just starting to recover. They really need to be sprayed to encourage the flowers to set but this would mean using the hosepipe and I would rather not do that.

I’m saving the water for the tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and courgettes. Even so, they’re only getting a relatively small amount each but I’m watering them every day. Based on my records, whilst I expect a slightly smaller crop of tomatoes, there’s a chance that they will taste better as the flavour will be more concentrated. The cherry tomatoes are cropping well, enough for a daily salad or tomatoes on toast. The larger ones are showing signs with a few Bloody Butcher ready to be picked. The beefsteak still have a while to go although the Ace 55 has a few turning.

I’ve had to go through the plants looking for caterpillars as there are holes on the leaves. Found a few 3/4 inch caterpillars and a number of tiny ones. Daily checks from now on.

Finally the courgettes, they are starting to crop and need plenty of water. I’ve buried pots beside the plants so that the water goes to the roots rather than just on the surface and that seems to be working. The climbing courgettes are going a bit rampant and it looks like we will be overwhelmed.

In order to minimise our water use, there’s a bucket by the back door which we fill with suitable water and empty into the waterbutts. Not much, but every little helps as they say.