Nov 3, 2009

Sun Sun, Go Away

Dang, so much for my super-soaker winter prediction! Just kidding, I know there’s still plenty of time—as pointed out by the weather blog I’m anxiously following these days. Plus we are still way, way over normal rainfall to date, which is a great and magical thing. It’s just that I was hoping the ground wouldn’t have a chance to dry back out, because as part of my Yard 2.0 plan, I am still putting in a lot of new plants. (Last year’s Yard 1.0 left plenty of room for both additions and do-overs.) I wanted to get all plants in as early as possible so they could spend lots of time establishing and therefore need very, very little water next summer, and I have about half in now, but looks like I will need to babysit them until the rains come back to stay. I have a great drip system that was installed by the eminently knowledgeable Garden Natives during the summer, so that will be a boon, but some of the new plants are out of its reach. Also, after the October rain, the entire yard became a carpet of wildflower seedlings, and even though I will need to cull a huge number (*sniff!*), I can’t bear to let the rest keel over from thirst, which means I’ll probably set out the old fashioned sprinkler a few times. I know sprinklers use an outrageous amount of water, which makes me really wish I had planned and installed a rain water catchment system. I had abandoned the idea on the grounds that it was too much hassle and money, but now I realize if I’d done it, I’d have hundreds of gallons of free water just waiting to go out on those new plants. Also, I accidentally left my wheelbarrow and a Rubbermaid bin out in the October storm, and it felt so eco-friendly pouring it on my plants, I got sort of hooked. Plus, as every gardener knows, rain water is infinitely more beneficial than tap water. I’m told by a Very Smart Dude I know (my brother), that this is because rain picks up nitrogen from the atmosphere. So I’ll be shopping rain barrels soon, and will post whatever I come up with here.


  1. Interesting what your brother said about nitrogen and rainwater. I'm in the middle of the Bay Friendly Designer Certification classes, and yesterday learned that coastal plants irrigated via fog (redwoods and the plants beneath them for example) are getting a fertilizer hit because the moisture is coming from th nutrient rich ocean.

    Another example that we need to let go of the idea of conquering our gardens and instead take our cues from the natural world (although I'm still not ready to trade in my beloved mediterraneans for natives) ;-0

  2. Also, it is because rainwater has perfect ph! Everything about it is perfect!

    Nice post, nice blog. I am hooked on Texas natives!

  3. I'm planning a similar winter project here in Oklahoma - rain barrels that might actually add to the aesthetic appeal of the garden. I can't wait to see what you come up with!


  4. Good luck with your seedlings. I sowed some native seed packets myself last weekend, hoping that our dry weather would break before too long...

  5. Thanks all for the comments! Susan, interesting about the fog nutrients--and not to worry, I don't aim to conquer anything, except, ideally, the ivy. Feel like the yard pretty well conquers me, sometimes! Nothing wrong with loving mediterraneans--they're suited to similar conditions, so I think using them counts as taking cues from nature.

    Janie, good point on the neutrality of rain Ph--every plant is happy with it!

    Kaiwat, I'm finding there definitely are aesthetically pleasing rain barrels, but they're a bit out of my price range. I'm still working on the rain collection goal, but may not be able to put it together all at once. I don't like function to trump form, when the form is as ugly as some of the collection barrels out there. My quest continues...

    James, good luck with your seedlings. I'm adjusting my rain hopes--not a single drop in the 15-day forecast, so now I'm hoping Mother Nature will maybe give us a little rain as a Christmas present.

  6. Yeah, I'm pretty tired of the sunshine myself. Then again, I remember that one spring when it just didn't stop raining, and several of my plants perished because of oxygen deprivation (basically, they drown in clay). I'm just glad I'm not a farmer, I'd go nuts fretting about the weather.

  7. Dang, never rains but it pours, I guess. They don't think up those sayings for nothing!