Good to be Back in the Garden

Download PDF
From Wild Suburbia

After being away for a week it was nice to find that most of my container plants made it with the timer and overhead sprinkler (see Container Plants on Time for a description of the set up). The timer was set to go off on Monday, Thursday and Saturday for 18 minutes starting at 7:30 AM. The only plant that I lost was a Cleveland sage (Salvia clevelandii in the terracotta pot right next to Milo’s head). At first I thought it didn’t get enough water since it was on a table in the back. On further consideration, I realized that the Cleveland sage behind it is just fine and that the one that didn’t make it was on the decline before we went away.

Anyway, here is what I have learned. The herbs and other water-loving natives plants did great in the shady grouping with frequent water. The summer-dry natives (Mimulus, Rhamnus californica, Salvia clevelandii) did okay for this short period of time but probably wouldn’t like it much longer.

James from Lost in the Landscape suggested olla irrigation. The New Mexico Water Conservation Alliance has a nice description of it in their newsletter. For some time I have thought about experimenting with this method. Basically it involves burying a porous clay pot near the plant that needs water. The top of the pot has a narrow mouth that extends above ground so you can periodically refill the pot. Slowly water seeps through the pot to the soil near the plant. One can use pots with varying porosity. Milk cartons with small holes can be used as well. Have any of you done this? How does it work? Is there anything special one needs to know to be successful?

Overall the garden is still productive right now. Tomatoes are coming in. I have a small patch of lettuce next to the timer for the veggie garden (it leaks when the it goes off so I sprinkled lettuce seeds there to take advantage of the water). I bought a couple of new parsley plants since mine went to seed (they were in pots and I didn’t give them a chance to reseed themselves). The basil has gone to seed, though the lemon basil is just starting to flower. The grapes are large – for wild grapes – and delicious. The native plants are quiet, though the goldenrod (Solidago californica), California buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum), and alkali sacaton (Sporobolus airoides) are all in bloom. The California fuchsias (Epilobium species and cultivars) are also blooming. What’s happening in your gardens?

Container plants (some have already been moved back to their permanent homes) after one week’s vacation

From Wild Suburbia

Pacific Coast Hybrid irises that I bought last spring and hope to plant in the fall are just fine!

From Wild Suburbia

Roger’s Red grapes are especially prolific this year – and very tasty.

From Wild Suburbia

Washed in the sink and ready to eat…

From Wild Suburbia

Don’t they look good?

From Wild Suburbia

5 thoughts on “Good to be Back in the Garden

  1. I haven&#39;t done the pot irrigation, though I&#39;m curious. It&#39;s mentioned in the Golden Gate Gardening book. Seems like a lot of work to me to set up, but then probably saves a lot of time later.<br /><br />Of my CA natives, just my Epilobium canum and Salvia apiana are blooming. Oh and a few stray poppies.

  2. Interesting irrigation idea – I may try that. I love the little irises – they look very healthy. Always tricky getting irrigation right – I&#39;ve pretty much given up on the automatice system right now but I think I&#39;ll overhaul it and get it put to rights. One whole section stopped working and I&#39;m sure I&#39;m watering a gopher hole system when I turn it on.

  3. Yes, irrigation is tricky. I am hoping to increase my vegetable garden and so then irrigation will be become more important. For the natives – not so much, fortunately!

  4. Those Roger&#39;s Red grapes look great! Too bad they&#39;re only 1/2 native, as the genetic analysis seems to suggest. No matter. It seems like a great plant. <br /><br />Aside from that, I&#39;ve invited you to participate in the MeMe meme. The original meme asks you to list 7 things about yourself, and then list 7 blogs you like. I&#39;ve taken some liberties with it… And you are very

  5. TM – The grapes tasted great too, and I am still enjoying the jelly. Thanks for inviting me to participate in the MeMe meme. I am just figuring out what this is, but it does sound like fun. I&#39;m going to try to do it tomorrow.

Comments are closed.