This past season has presented many challenges for gardeners. We suffered through almost eight weeks without any significant rainfall and that put a lot of my gardens under tremendous stress. Even the rainfalls we’ve had in the past couple of fall months haven’t been as much as we’re used to.

I don’t baby my plants. New perennials are given a good watering for the first week or so but after that they’re on their own. I believe this encourages them to develop deeper roots as they seek moisture. Shallow watering promotes shallow roots so that’s something I try to avoid. Most summers I don’t water the flower beds at all.

Of course, vegetable gardens require more watering, at least an inch every week. It was a real challenge as rain barrels ran dry early in the season. The vegetables suffered right along with the perennials but still managed to provide a decent crop of tomatoes, beans and squash. Luckily a lot of herbs manage well with little water.

Something that I’ve heard gardeners discussing is global warming and the need for drought-tolerant plants. This is something we may have to consider going forward.

Even my bog garden that has been a wet area for years was completely dry this summer. There comes a point when using tap water is just not feasible.

As we wrap up this gardening season we can appreciate that we got through it okay and we’ll just have to wait until spring to see how many of our plants survived. I suspect I may have my share of empty spaces that will need to be filled. Of course, that presents an opportunity to go shopping and find new plants, hopefully varieties that are more drought tolerant. If nothing else, we gardeners tend to be an optimistic bunch. There’s always next year.

Are you planning on doing anything differently with your gardens next year? Send us a note to let us know.


By P.J. Gagne, gardenKitchener Board Member