Fall Strategies As the Northeast Drought Continues

The last time we came this close to a drought was in 2010. Before that, it was 2003. Drought is not totally uncommon to Connecticut, but thankfully, it is short-lived.

Back then, there was talk of water conservation (as I watched my neighbors continue to run their sprinklers in the rain–probably a lot like what went on in California for too long–folks have no idea how dry it is and how desperate it really is)

I went on the local news and talked about drought conservation measures–and even ways to use “graywater” from the shower in watering ornamental, but not edible, plants.

Thankfully, in every dry spell, I learn different things. This year, one of the things I did was to leave a weed as a ground cover in shadier areas.

This can back fire if there is too little moisture because the weed can suck up the moisture and not let it get to your precious plants. However, if you’re watering correctly–infrequently but deeply–or if nature is doing the same thing–then the weed isn’t going to harm anything and it will act as a living mulch. Here’s an example of what I mean.

dogwood bed

This is a bed under and aging dogwood where I have some established perennials. Ferns have self-sowed and moss has crept in. I’m trying to cultivate more ferns and moss. Tough to do in a drought.

Partially weeded bed

The front part is already weeded in this photo. You can see the “ground cover weed” in the back part.

fern close-up

Finally you can see that the technique worked. I supplied very little water to this bed over the summer–and yet these little ferns managed to come along nicely, even with the drought, and up against the brownstone wall, which bakes in the sun.

It’s an unorthodox approach, but then again, desperate times call for desperate measures!

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