The past week in Norris has been sizzling hot, along with many areas of the country that have been experiencing excessive heat and drought-like conditions. We’ve had heat advisories almost every day for the past four days; temperatures have been in the low 100s, and humidity has hovered around 30% during the hottest time of the day. According to Norris Dam TVA rain gauge data, June has received only 1.9” of rain; typical rainfall is around 4” to 5” in June. (Click here for UT’s Climate Data resource page where you can explore links to weather information.)
hot temperatures and hot peppers from the garden
The heat and lack of rain have had an impact on some of the trees and shrubs that were planted last fall. The dogwood and witch hazel trees, along with the hydrangeas, are exhibiting signs of distress—signs that I didn’t pick up on, but can now see (thank you to Valerie for pointing them out). They’re getting extra water until temperatures reach normal levels again.
witch hazel and hydrangeas
The meadow that was planted in May is holding up well. Some areas (like the sloped sections in the backyard) were a bit drier before the heat wave started, so I was already watering them. The rest of the meadow plants will be watered every few days for the next couple weeks.
meadow in backyard (with Emmet chairs courtesy of Room & Board, and fire pit)
The garden soil is dry, but that hasn’t slowed the garden plants down at all. The tomatoes, peppers, and chard are healthy and producing quite a bit. Carrots are big enough to be pulled, there are several eggplants that will be ready soon, and zucchini plants are blossoming. Unfortunately, the cauliflower was overtaken by bugs that ate through all the leaves, so I had to pull those out. I’m guessing that the organically rich soil has made a difference in the garden; without such good soil, perhaps the garden wouldn’t be faring so well during the heat.
abundance of tomatoes
The good news is there’s a 30% chance of thunderstorms on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. Even if it only rains for a short time, it will bring relief to the dry earth and help replenish the cistern as well.
The New Norris House is a design/build effort from the University of Tennessee's College of Architecture and Design. Began in 2009, the home was designed and built by UT students in collaboration with Clayton Homes. The built project is now complete and the final phase of the project has begun. A team of 4 people (2 living in the home, and 2 graduate researchers) will rigorously document the experience via qualitative assessments and quantitative measurements, posting results to this blog.