Showing posts with label watering. Show all posts
Showing posts with label watering. Show all posts

Monday, May 26, 2014

Mulched. Now, Grow!

The edibles are planted and mulched with straw.  The aqua cones are in place.  We'll see if something good to eat will be possible with the watering restrictions.  The onions look awesome.  The pea plants are short, but making pods.  Waiting on the replanting of pumpkins and the basil.  Everything else is sprouted.  The lettuce had trouble sprouting for some reason.  It's a small plot but we're getting a few salads now.  The radishes were as confused by our spring as we were.  We've only had a few so far.  Grow garden grow!!!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Not My Favorite March

March certainly roared itself out today.  We had awful winds with visible dust in the air.  The world had an odd color as the dust acted like a filter for the sun.  No clouds today, but the sky wasn't blue either.  I did manage to put the pansies I purchased yesterday into a container and I planted two new house plants in the pottery my sister-in-law sent me for Christmas from South Korea.  I'll let them all get settled a bit before their photo shoot.

We've had nice spring afternoons, cold winter mornings, wind, wind and wind lately.  No rain to speak of.  I think it did smell like rain last Friday, but that was it.

I won't bore you with the details, but I've devised a watering plan using our shower water, bathtub water and eventually the rain barrels once we stay above freezing.  Hopefully, the rain barrels will have some rain to catch.  Since we have a lot tighter watering restrictions, I've greatly reduced the number of containers I will have on the patio.  There will be no hanging baskets.  For the limited use of water from the faucets, I will focus on the areas with trees and shrubs.  Not expecting a lush garden this year, just hoping to keep plants alive to flourish another day.

The spring bulbs are starting to bloom.  That always helps perk up a landscape.

Bye-bye March.  Please bring some April showers!

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Friday, February 28, 2014

Water Warning

In the midst of a severe and unrelenting drought, our city commission approved a Stage 2 water warning declaration at its meeting Thursday night. The warning means the city will reduce water to just enough to keep the roots of the grass alive on all parks and ball fields that utilize potable water.

Outdoor water use will be prohibited from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and connections to the potable water system for irrigation also will be barred.

The move implements the second-tier fee for heavy water users, increasing the rate from $7.42 to $10.30 per 750 gallons. The fee will effect March water usage.

The city decided to move to water warning early due to the upcoming spring planting season

"Knowing that a lot of people plan their lawns and gardens now, I would hate to see somebody plan a garden or a lawn replacement program and then penalize them later from a monetary standpoint through the conservation tier fee, " the city manager said. "This gives people the opportunity to plan or not to plan knowing they’re going to pay more for that water usage outdoors."

The drought is weighing heavy on the minds of city officials.

"If we never have droughts, our water sources would last us 100 years." the city manager said. "But we do have droughts, and we have to rely on the fact that, at some point, there will be rain again."

The next step in the city’s water conservation plan is a Stage 3 water emergency, which would implement even stricter conservation rules including a complete ban on outdoor watering and closure of municipal swimming pools.

Since I go to bed at 9 pm, get up at 4:30 am, get to work before 6 am and get off work at 2 pm; it looks like I'll be watering Fri night/Sat morning and Sat night/Sun morning with potable water.  I'll use whatever I catch with the rain barrels and bath water at other times.  Time to reduce the planting list for the vegetable garden and the containers.  

We have cold air and snow in our forecast for the weekend.  March is going to come in as a lion for us.  Here's to the moisture at least!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Talk Of A Watering Ban

Our city commissioners are starting to talk about the possibility of banning all outside water use this year.  We continue to be in a drought.  Our city's water wells are very low.  There hasn't been much moisture yet this winter.

If the watering ban happens, my container plantings may not happen.  I've already placed an order for some drought tolerant perennials to plant off the back patio.  Those should arrive in April.  If we get any rain, they'll get extra water from the patio roof runoff.  I have made the list of edibles I want to plant this year.  It is one post back.  There will be some adjusting especially with the tomato varieties.  Final choices for starter plants often are based on what looks best at the greenhouse.  This year's edibles will also be edited if there is a watering ban.

There will be prayers for rain, rain barrels set up to catch every drop possible and bath water saved again this year.

I don't mean to set a dismal outlook for the next growing season.  It could be a challenging year at Garden on Sherlock Street; but I will still plant because the rain may come.  When the rain comes, the plants that are here will be glorious!

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A New Watering System

It is still pretty dry at Garden on Sherlock Street.  However, we have had a few showers and we aren't baking as much as last summer.

Two good things about not much mowing because the grass isn't growing and very few weeds as nothing wants to sprout right now. 

 Our city recently had two things happen which stressed our water supply.
1.  A major fire (thankfully no one was killed or injured).
2.  A water main burst near downtown because the ground is so dry it is shifting and the shifting put stress on an older water line which broke.

So, with anticipation of tighter watering restrictions in the near future, I've been experimenting with a way to water landscape plants if I can't use the faucets and soaker hoses.

I've seen many ways to use containers with holes in the bottom to let water leak slowly and soak in near a plant's roots.  Here's what I think will work for me.

I cut the spout off a milk jug. 

I wanted a large opening so I could pour water into it easily.

I put one small slit in the bottom corner under the handle.  I had many more and larger slits and holes in some I tested which let the water out way too fast.

The large opening also allows me to sit a clay pot in the milk jug.  The clay pot is needed as a weight to hold the jug in place once the water drains.  Without a weight, the empty jug would blow away in the wind.

I sit the jug next to a plant.  In this case a volunteer morning glory in the vegetable bed serves as the test plant.

Fill the jug with water and walk away.

It worked well.

My plan is to make a handful of these and move them to different plants each day using a bucket or two of bath water or rain water.  The plants may not thrive, but hopefully they'll survive to see a wetter growing season eventually.

Most of the vegetable garden has aqua cones in place for this type of watering.  They really help.  You can read about assembling the aqua cones in a previous post.

In other news, I have the tallest native annual sunflower I've ever grown.  The top flower is even with the gutter on the garage.  These are getting no extra water.

Garden on Sherlock Street continues to be an oasis for many birds.
This sweet dove wasn't even bothered by me working in the garden as she sat in the shade.

Chances of some good rain in our forecast!

I forgot to point out that we also have very few mosquitoes currently too.

My containers are blooming nicely and we're havesting veggies.  While we don't look lush and green, we are still a productive garden.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Bloom And Snow

Saturday was warm and windy.  I watered various bulbs in the garden which are starting to sprout with saved bath water.  We continue to be in a drought.  I'm going for any water I can.  Although, we were recently upgraded from 'exceptional' to 'extreme' according to the US Drought Monitor Classifications.  Which means we went from the 'worst' to 'next to worst.'

In other Saturday news, I discovered the Martha Washington Geranium I started from a cutting last fall is blooming!  It normally lives on a windowsill.  I brought it into the kitchen for a photo.

Sunday morning, we woke up to a white world.  I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of snow we received.  We also had a lot of wind.  Good thing it was a wet snow.  Made it stick instead of blowing away.

We're in for a cold night and then we should warm up again next week.  Anxious to get out and start cleaning beds for spring, but glad for any moisture.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Water Watch

Our city manager announced that we are now in a water watch:

The city is now in a water watch, which is the first level of alert in the city’s water operations plan. The city manager says the significant, lingering drought continues to deplete the aquifers from which the city receives its water. Also the peak daily consumption is unusually high.  Residents are asked to voluntarily reduce their water usage. This could mean allowing lawns to go dormant or no longer watering struggling vegetable gardens or flowers.
The city is cutting back significantly on the watering of irrigated parks, allowing the grass to go dormant. Water permits for new lawns will not be issued. If the conditions do not improve, the city could move into a water warning, which would lead to additional restrictions.

Our normal water restrictions are as follows:
It is unlawful to waste water in the city. The use of water for washing down buildings, sidewalks, and other hard surfaced areas is prohibited unless you receive a special permit from the city clerk/finance office. Permits can be issued to allow washing down hard surfaces for sanitary reasons or power washing a house to prepare it for painting. Outside washing (including car washes) is allowed anytime of the day between October 1 and May 31. A ban is placed on all outside water usage during the period of June 1 to September 30 between the hours of 12:00 noon and 7:00 p.m. For customers with newly seeded lawns, the city will issue a permit allowing you to water during the hours of 12:00 noon and 7:00 p.m. Permits can be obtained, at no charge, by visiting the city clerk/finance office and completing an application process.

Our city encourages water conservation by giving out free low flow shower heads, supporting rain barrel events where people can get them for little cost and offering a rebate program for purchases of water saving appliances.  They also try to educate residents about ways to reduce water usage.  Plus, each household is put into a water use level decided by the average of usage from January, February and March each year.  When you exceed your water use level, you pay more for that water.  The city itself uses a lot of reclaimed water for certain parks and ball fields.

Our county extension agent is putting out information about reduced watering for gardens.  She says some people are over watering right now.  There are plants that just can't take the heat no mater how much water you give them.  She's also encouraging people to save their trees over their lawns.

Here is my current watering plan:

water by hand every day:
plants in raised vegetable beds
flower tower
purple fountain grass in front
silver falls in front
4 hanging baskets
purple fountain grass in back shrub border
purple sweet potato vine in basket
cosmos by grill
4 bird baths

water by hand three times a week:
26 containers
add water to "fish pond"

water by hand once a week:
7 succulent and cacti containers

run soaker hose in following areas for three hours each once a week:
front shrub border
bed under living room window
salvia bed along driveway
the forest
bed under patio eave
bed with butterfly bush
side garden with sumac
back shrub border (2 soaker hoses)

run soaker hose in following areas for one hour each once a week:
oval bed
bed with burgandy blanket flower
bed with hardy geraniums

water occasionally:
hens and chicks
lambs' ears

More plants will be rescued.  More plants will be abandoned.

In addition to collecting water in the bath tub.  My wonderful husband is now showering with a five gallon bucket to catch as much water as possible there too.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

New Water Source

Our city officials are saying we 'might' go to a water 'watch' phase soon which would mean no tolerance for wasting water or watering between noon and 7 pm, and asking everyone to conserve more than they already are.  After that, the next phase would be a water 'warning' which would mean no outside watering. We are not there yet, but we haven't gotten any significant rain and it is still as hot as ever most days.

Have you ever had a good idea while taking a shower?

I realized that I could simply close the drain on our tub while I took a shower and hold that water to use in the garden each day.  Don't worry, I have a good bath mat to stand on so I won't slip.  Simply closing the shower curtain keeps it hidden from curious guests.  Besides, if they see the water in there and ask about it, I'll gladly let them in on my new water source.

A small plastic bucket makes it easy to fill the larger bucket that I use to carry the water outside without dipping the larger bucket into the tub and getting it really wet to drip everywhere.  Plus, I can actually fill the larger bucket this way.  Less trips in and out of the house.  It's a mini work out as well with some weight training.  As a bonus, the water from days after taking a bubble bath smells really nice while I'm pouring it.

Some friends of ours in a neighboring town which has restricted its residents to watering only one day a week are keeping a five gallon bucket in their shower.  They have a number of children and it fills each day.  They use that water to keep their vegetable plants going between the weekly waterings.  We haven't put a bucket in my wonderful husband's shower...yet.

Gardeners can be very resourceful.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Tomatoes On Pause

The high temperatures are keeping the tomatoes from producing.  Our local extension agent is constantly telling people that tomatoes just don't do well in the heat we've been experiencing.  I can deal with the zucchini dying, but I really would like to have some tomatoes.

Last Wednesday, we got sprinkles.  The front gave us cooler temperatures for a day, but not real moisture.  As you can see in the video below, I'm watering while I'm recording.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Same Conditions

Hot.  Dry.  Watering Restrictions.  Burn Bans.  Well Levels.  Wind.  Sun.

It seems everyone uses the above words or phrases every day around here.

Not being said:  Rain, humid, cool front, umbrella, wet.

Our city's year round water conservation has protected us from emergency watering restrictions so far.  Neighboring towns are really taking some drastic measures to keep their water supplies available for necessity.
My water bill is higher.  I'm watering everyday.  Soaking an area each day so it can withstand the conditions until it gets a turn again.  Never watered:  the lawn, the alley, most of the wild area and the area featured below.

While I have many drought tolerant plants in the garden, it is not a complete xerioscape landscape.  Here's an example:

Same sun, soil and water.

Drought tolerant plant on the left.
Thirsty plant on the right.
What a contrast.

Lily of the Valley looked great this spring and smelled wonderful by the front porch.  It needs water, shade and cooler weather for the foliage to stay nice all year.  It gets afternoon shade.  If we would get rain, the roof of the porch runs off in this area.  Next spring, it will likely perform well again with some moisture, but right now it is crispy.

Russian Sage dies to the ground each winter here and regrows and blooms in the summer.  I give it no extra water.  It likes full sun but does well with morning sun here.  It is looking good and will be there when the pollinators start returning.

I need more plants like the Russian Sage.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Taking The Plunge

Last March, I posted a "personal ad" for a watering can.

After some advice from fellow gardeners and much searching online and on foot, I found the watering can I wanted.  I paused at the price.  

I decided I could hold out until there was a sale or something.  There was never a sale or anything.

Well, with some Christmas cash, I bought the watering can.

It is a Haws Galvanized Slimcan.  The two gallon size.

As I wrote last year, "It must have a screw off sprinkler head. The carrying handle needs to be inline with the spout and pouring handle. Plus, I want the fill opening to be on top at back."  That is exactly what I got.  The "perfect galvanized watering can."

You can put different brass heads on the spout depending on what you want.  I chose basic round.  They don't screw on.  They slide on.  It is removable which is what I really wanted.

It arrived one late afternoon.  I immediately filled the watering can with water.  I watered crocus sprouting by the patio stepping stones even though it was only 38 degrees Fahrenheit. 

I see a great future for us.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Frown

Froggy is sad.  The plant he was keeping company succumed to the heat and was finished off most likely by a cricket or grasshopper.  Sorry Darla.  It's been a rough month.  There was a lot of August in July.  With a whole hot month ahead of us, some tough decisions are being made at Garden on Sherlock Street. 

The beans have already been left to their own devices and the pumpkin has been given the same sentence.  As far as vegetables, I'm trying to focus on what will produce the best at this point.  I still have some vegetables put up in the freezer from last year.  There may not be much added to the freezer this year. 

I have moved some more containers of flowers hoping to give them a little shade for part of the day.  This included disassembling the flower tower.  I decided the purple hyacinth bean vines might be better on the patio.  I put the remaining bacopa by the front steps. 

The front garden shrubs seem to be fairing well.  I do run the soaker hoses on a regular basis.

The back garden shrubs are where I'm worried the most.  Many of them are getting brown spots.  There are also some perrenial flowers which have disappeared.  They may return next spring so I won't count them out yet.

Sorry for the sad garden report.  I'm just trying to hold on to what I can.

There's always a chance of a big rain shower turning a lot of the plants around in a hurry.

**Update:  Since posting this, we had a surprise rain shower give us .25" of rain and dropped our temperature to 80 degrees.  It's a good start!**

Monday, July 25, 2011

An All Around Garden Report

I spent a lot of time this past weekend checking the soaker hoses.  Those drips of water are keeping the garden alive during these 100 plus (Fahrenheit) degree days.

Some plants are doing just fine despite the heat and without any extra water.
The Russian Sage in front of the house gets only what Mother Nature provides.  It is tall, full and scented.  The bees are loving the Russian Sage.

Please ignore the hose.  The shrubs beyond the Russian Sage were getting a drink.

I have taken down all of my hanging baskets, and have them where they get shade for part of the day.  I also have them sitting on plastic buckets filled with water.  They draw water up into the basket through the day.

My Echinacea purpurea 'White Swan' was nearly nibbled off this spring by the bunnies.  It's getting water when I run the soaker hose and is now blooming.  Also, it produces seeds last year and I have a couple of volunteers in the same bed.

The gomphrena is blooming!!  I do need to make sure these plants get watered regularly.

I think the flowers are sweet.

I don't think I've ever watered the hens and chicks along the side of the house.  This year, they're looking a bit pale.  I have some more hens and chicks near our air conditioner.  They get a little more shade and a little more water.  They look happier.

Even the lamb's ears plants, which usually fill the bed under this window, are struggling without extra water this year.

The Maximilian's Sunflower which is native here is looking a bit distressed.

It got a drink Saturday.

The globe thistle seems just fine.

The shovel bird my uncle made us seems to be good no matter what the weather is.  :-)

My friend Melanie shared a butterfly weed seedling with me this past spring.  I was sad when one day I discovered it limp on the ground.  Imagine my surprise when it resprouted from the root.  I have an old hanging basket frame over it for protection.

The red cardinal climber plants are growing, but not blooming.  Maybe it is too hot for the blooms to make it.

A week ago, I gave the plumbago a good soaking.  Now, it is blooming!

The pumpkin is hanging on in this bed.  I'm worried that it won't make any pumpkins though.  Like a lot of the vegetable plants, it seems to be surviving but not blooming or producing in the heat.

The bed under the eave of the patio is usually full of self seeding four o'clock plants by this time each year.  After I remove the spent bachelor buttons and dame's rockets, they just need a nice rain to get growing.  I did water this bed Sunday morning in hopes that the four o'clocks will take off.

Purple fountain grass loves the heat.  I just need to water it.

The trash can containers on the patio are doing well.  I have Jacob's Coat, ice plant and a red trailing verbena planted in them.

I hung out the hummingbird feeders.

One of my sister-in-laws gave me these ant moats.  The idea is that ants won't be able to get to the sugar water if the little inverted umbrellas are filled with water.  I just hope the heat and the wind doesn't dry them out too quickly each day.  They are cute!

 I chased this butterfly around the garden a bit on Saturday.  Here he's posing.

Here, he's fluttering 

Tomatoes are making there way to the kitchen counter where they finish ripening.  Left to right:  brandywine heirloom, mater sandwich, sweet baby and chocolate cherry

I'm getting a little help from this baby praying mantis.

Here's my milo crop.  Purple majesty millet.
I think I planted it too thick but that's ok.

I bought a granular organic fertilizer recently.  I went for a balanced formula.  All the containers and most of the vegetable plants got some before I watered them well.  I'm hoping some of the vegetables will kick it in gear and produce better.  I know the containers needed a boost as all the watering has surely washed out many of the soil's nutrients.

Do you have a favorite organic fertilizer?  Mostly, I go for having healthy soil and adding compost but those containers usually need a little something more.  I'm open to suggestions. 

Hope your garden is doing well.