Throughout most of the summer and even into the fall months, the Deep South has been much drier than normal. This lack of rain caused a drought that has resulted in a range of reactions from hot November days to deadly wildfires in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Backyard gardeners, large corporate farms, and everyone in between have suffered. One of those small farms is EAT South, and I spoke to the farm director, Caylor Roling, about how the drought has affected the farm.
I especially wanted to know about the yield during the drought. I wanted to know if the drought affected the yield in size or otherwise. When asked, Ms. Roling said, “The good thing is that we’re very small and have about 600 feet of space, so we have good drip irrigation. But the plants did a lot better when there was rain. I also had to plant much later than I usually would. I was too hot to plant kale, lettuce, and beets for the fall season. the kale and beets aren’t very big and the beets are a little bigger than a quarter.”
I then inquired about the changes she had to make and whether or not she kept a rain log. She answered, “I definitely had to stick to a watering schedule of about three times a week. And I did buy a rain gauge, but it never did rain,” she said jokingly. “Generally though, vegetables should get about an inch of rain per week.”
Finally, I asked if she had any suggestions for backyard gardeners. “There are a few ways to save water,” she started. “First, you can buy a drip irrigation kit at Home Depot. if you use a hose, you should water your plants early in the morning or late at night. If you don’t, most of the water goes to evaporation.
EAT South’s Downtown Farm is located in behind the Montgomery, Alabama, near the Riverfront and behind the Advertiser building.