We’re heading into another heatwave, though nothing as brutal as the recent Pacific Northwest. Gardening takes place in the morning, then after dinner till sunset.
Yesterday, I enjoyed a rare, unscheduled day, and I spent a good portion of it in the garden. I made an early trip to a garden center and hauled home eight bags of garden mulch. It helps retain moisture, and with drought conditions, we need to preserve every drop. I harvested some on our compost mulch as well. I’ll share more about that endeavor in a future post.
San Jose Water Company’s directive asks us to cut back lawn watering to two days a week. We replaced our lawn with native plants several years ago during the last major drought, so we’re now able to water with an efficient drip system just one day a week. Last week we checked the level of our rainwater tanks, and they’re at about 75% capacity.
How bad is it? Our semi-arid climate averages 15 inches per year. This past season we got just over five inches.
It’s shameful to admit that when I’m in a rush (or if I choose to use that as an excuse), I go the lazy route and fill my watering cans from the hose bib at the front of the house. However, I recently bought a nifty watering bag to make it easier to transport water from the tanks in the back, side yard, then carry through the house to the deck to water the succulents.
The sweetpeas don’t last past June in San Jose. It’s just too hot. So I let them go to seed and then pull them out, assuring a healthy crop next year.
The California poppies, nigella, and cornflowers went to seed as well, leaving some bare patches in their wake.
Last week I bought white verbena and five gorgeous Russian sage to fill the spot. They’re both drought tolerant. Since the in-ground drip system is in place, these plants won’t consume additional resources. I stopped buying summer annuals during the last drought, filling pots with succulents instead. Succulents get by on minimal water and prefer to dry out between watering unlike most plants.
We’ve had success with two of our four tomato plants. One of the two plants in the EarthBox died almost immediately, but the second one thrived. It’s producing gorgeous cherry tomatoes daily.
The two tomatoes in the VegTrug are healthy, but the cherry tomato plant is the star. The basil is coming along nicely, so we’ll soon be enjoying that in our salads as well.
May Sarton’s quote captures some of the essences of gardening. I’m more at peace after a day spent among the plants.
“Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.” May Sarton