17 January 2008

Conservation

OMTFG, how can you feel so overwhelmed with work when you haven't been in the garden in weeks? I haven't even looked at the new Pacific Horticulture (except to ascertain that I've already killed one of the choicest hellebore hybrids noted therein); the latest Silverhill catalog looms over me threatening financial ruin (only after hours of painstaking research); not to mention a new source (courtesy fin de fichier) for the massive and heretofore neglected category of Ericaceae that I fear may shortly obsess me and the 5 lbs. of elemental sulphur languishing in the garage. Then there are the seeds I've already started, which are germinating as we speak, pots for which I have to locate and clean before I can even plant them out.

I think I last turned the compost in October?

Our last burst of rain brought us to around 10 inches for the year, which is pretty good, but still less than half of the "average" we'd like to get. One of the obvious ways to supplement the water supply is is to capture the runoff from your lot. More than half of the rain that I "get" washes out immediately to the street, storm drains and the bay. It would be nice to divert all of this into a massive cistern under the garage and water the garden with it all summer, but that is very, very far down the list of things I can't afford to do. So instead, I run the garage downspout into this 5 gallon bucket, which I empty into my unmortared brick patio whenever I'm not too lazy. Plus, it's so attractive.

I've been congratulating myself on this homespun groundwater recharge technique for a few years, but I decided to run the numbers (because I don't have enough to do), and every 20x I empty the bucket seems to equal an additional .1608 inches when spread over the whole garden. Revolutionary!

Of course, my math is probably wrong anyway.

Great, that photo just reminded me I need to prune the Fuchsia.

PS: California nativists might want to note the impending closure of Henry W. Coe state park, which displays its impressive collection of flora on an excellent website.

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9 Comments:

Blogger Katie said...

mmw - I feel the same way - overwhelmed for no reason! You reminded me that I needed to check on my little seedlings...

Who doesn't wish they could have a cistern installed? Oh that would be glorious! :0)

1608 inches of rain makes me want to put my bright orange bucket underneath a downspot as well!

Katie at GardenPunks

1/17/2008 2:35 PM  
Blogger mmw said...

Katie, I started out with a home depot bucket too, but my wife rebelled and I had to placate her with dirty white plastic. I can't believe it worked!

1/17/2008 8:06 PM  
Blogger Glickster said...

For more about Hellebores:

www.sunfarm.com/specials

1/18/2008 7:10 AM  
Blogger lisa said...

Heh...your mood in this post reflects mine today: I feel restless, edgy, hell-I'm tweakin'! No drugs are responsible...moon phase maybe? I haven't even started any seeds yet...this year is already trying to get away from me! Maybe I'll go home and break some things after work, see if that helps. Or shoot stuff...yea.

1/18/2008 1:36 PM  
Anonymous Kris at Blithewold said...

cistern schmistern - how about a super attractive 50 gallon pickle barrel under that (and every) downspout? Just think how lazy you could be before watering with it... and how many more tenths of inches for your garden... and those seedlings... better get busy! (she says still happily relaxed in the middle of a New England winter)

1/21/2008 8:48 AM  
Blogger mmw said...

kris, my dad uses those pickle barrels (in NH), and yes, they are both awesome and hideous. More to the point, they take up too much room. The yard is ~1000 sq.ft., there's no way I'm sacrificing that much plantable space. But if I could bury them and plant over the top...

1/22/2008 3:32 PM  
Blogger Garden Wise Guy said...

Hey: thanks for stopping by my Garden Wise Guy blog and leaving your comments (This spring I'll get a better shot of the Salvia cham. - promise). I appreciate your number crunching on the bucket brigade. I'm often in the same state of mind, wondering how much impact my good habits really matter. But something is better than nothing, so keep up the good work.

Do you have any beds nearby that you can divert the water to with a downspout extension? Also, just keeping the soil friable and mulched will help with infiltration.

1/26/2008 7:40 PM  
Blogger JV said...

"How you like me now!?"

Sincerely,

The Rain

2/04/2008 4:32 PM  
Blogger mmw said...

Fuck you JV, you need to email me. It's an emergency.

2/05/2008 12:02 AM  

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