The Heritage Herb Gardens at the Ozark Folk Center grace the park with visual colors and textures, sweet and pungent aromas, and help us to interpret the history of the human use of plants.
This mean, hot dry spell is taking its toll on all living creatures. Irrigation is top priority for any plants worth saving. It is best to water in the early morning or after 4 p.m. When sun shines through water droplets on the surface of plant leaves, the photons of light are concentrated like a magnifying glass. This burns the very leaves you are trying to save.
Oscillating and impact sprinklers shoot water high into the air to the delight of birds and insects and children. This kind of device should be used when the sun is not shining on the plant leaves. Sending the water through the hot air causes evaporation of the resource. These kinds of sprinklers are not water conservation tools.
Drip irrigation, which uses perforated hoses or emitters on the end of tiny hoses, focuses the water right where it needs to go. This is, by far, the best use of water.
Using fertilizers with high nitrogen content is not a good thing to do when the temperatures are in the triple digits. The plants cannot use it right now. I am using kelp meal to provide the plants with potassium for strong stems and leaves.
Using mulch will help keep the soil cool and retard evaporation. Light-colored mulches, such as shredded newspaper or new straw will be cooler than bark mulch.
Hang in there! The old timer said that the drought is always ended by a rain. If I don’t see you in the future—I’ll see you in the pasture.