Gardentalk – Is the drought over? Can I stop watering now?

Potato, potahtoe
Potatoes for sale at Farmers Market and Food Fest 2014 at the JACC. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO)

No, the drought is not over. And don’t stop watering, said Master Gardener Ed Buyarski during this week’s edition of “Gardentalk” on KTOO’s “Morning Edition.”

Buyarski said a few days of rain showers is not enough to keep the ground moist for your garden vegetables. The National Weather Service also has said that sporadic spurts of rainfall will not be enough to remedy dry conditions in Southeast Alaska over the last two years.

“Dig down deep and see what the soil is telling us,” Buyarski said. “We need a lot more moisture.”

Buyarski also notes that extra watering — especially on the tender plants themselves — will help provide a little frost protection as temperatures drop to near-freezing with clear skies overnight. Jugs of water placed around the garden during the height of the afternoon sun will serve as a heat sink and delay frost conditions, if they occur. Blankets and sheets placed over squash and zucchini plants will also provide a layer of insulation.

“Clear (sheets of) plastic isn’t the answer,” Buyarski said.

Listen to the Aug. 29 edition of “Gardentalk.”
Buyarski also answered a few questions from listeners this week.

After last week’s segment about woolly bear caterpillars, Juneau listener Jolene asked about alternative methods of eradicating them, instead of squishing or stepping on them. Buyarski said a less brutal alternative that does not require touching the caterpillars includes using a spray bottle to spray the caterpillars with a soapy water solution.

Juneau listener Cathy asked about purchasing garlic bulbs. Buyarski said several vendors may be on hand selling garlic and other vegetables during the Juneau Food Festival at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center on Saturday, Aug. 31 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Free workshops are also planned on a variety of gardening and preservation subjects.

Do you have a garden question for Ed? Fill out the form below, and he’ll answer your question in an upcoming segment.

Listen to past episodes and subscribe to the podcast on the “Gardentalk” page, so you’ll never have to worry about missing Thursday’s live radio broadcasts.

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