The Q&A Archives: Drought Recovery

Question: As you may or may not know, we have been experiencing a severe drought here in the NorthEast. What steps can I do this year (to help erase the repercussions of the drought), to help jump-start me for next year.

Answer: I live in the drought area too and my biggest "improvement" suggestion is, I suppose, the same as it always is: soil preparation. I could see in my own gardens that the plants in the best prepared soil areas survived the best. Fall is a great time for this. Adding copious amounts of organic matter such as chopped leaves improves the soil structure so it can hold more water longer and yet also keeps it from becoming water logged. In the same vein, test your soil to see what it has and what it lacks and make improvements or add amendments based on the results. This is a good time to run the tests because the labs aren't as busy as they are in the spring. (Your County Extension -- 696-3500 -- can help you with the tests and interpreting the results.) Finally, use an organic mulch to help keep the soil cool and moist and to help feed the soil as it breaks down. Let's hope the rainfall is more on track next year!

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