I’ve had an “ear-worm” stuck in my head for a day now. It’s the song made famous by Burt Bacharach, called Rain Drops Keep Falling on My Head. It started in the garden yesterday, in the rain, of course. It continued well into today’s cold, dry weather and refuses to let up. I wish I could say the same for the rain which has let up. Again.
I understand that the rain is not for everyone. People living in Hamburg, Germany or Seattle, Washington get plenty. Living in a semi-arid climate like California means our rain is minimal compared to many other areas of the world.
I’ve always liked the rain. It’s fun to walk in it. I’ve been known to pull weeds while it’s pouring down. The sound of the rain on the roof at night is both calming and romantic. Gathering puddles bring out my inner child. It’s true that I don’t like to drive in wet weather. People seem to lose their heads when it rains. They drive too fast, follow too closely and we have the invariable car pile ups. Away from that nonsense, however, I do enjoy the wet stuff.
While snapping pics in the drizzle and humming my rainy day song yesterday, it was clear to me that all the plants in my garden agree. Rain drops keep falling…
Unless you live in Kauai, Hamburg or Seattle, you probably have to water your outdoor potted plants. This holds true for indoor plants that don’t get the benefit of seasonal rain. It’s a fine line between over-watering which can drown the roots, or under-watering which can quickly kill a summer annual. The mix of shallow roots and rising temperatures dry out plants. Mulching helps, but plants still need a regular drink of water. Further, seeing water pour out of the bottom of the pot on to the deck or walkway is a water-conservation no-no. What to do?
We’ve been experimenting with various self-watering devices, a misnomer since you still have to fill the reservoir with water. Our first self watering gadget was a glass globe about the size of a baseball. It came with a porous clay reservoir that you staked into the soil. After filling the glass globe with water, you quickly upended it and inserted it into the reservoir. They looked pretty, but presented two problems. The opening was narrow and hard to fill from a watering can. When I carried them to and from the sink, I worried I would drop them. Once full, you couldn’t set them down.
Next, my husband came up with the idea of using plastic apple juice containers, the ones that are about the size of a large apple. The opening was larger and they had a flat bottom. They worked, but they didn’t look nice after several weeks in the sun. When empty, they were light enough to be knocked out of the container by a squirrel…or a gardener… and often ended up under the shrubs.
Pictured below are our current watering stakes. The ceramic bird has a built-in reservoir in the back made of clay but molded into one piece. The stake remains in the soil and you add water from the top. Isn’t it cute? The verdict is out at this point. I like the ease of use and the little pop of color but I’m not convinced that one per pot is enough.
The baby bird or BORDY, is also molded in one piece but you add water through the mouth. For some reason it reminds me of a dolphin more than a bird. What do you think?
Do you have a favorite self-watering gadget? Please share in the comments, below.