Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Rain Dance

I'm a slug, not a lizard. I'd rather be under a boulder than baking on top of it. My ideal weather is the cool temps of a SoCal winter; my favorite sound is rain softly thumping on fallen leaves. That's when I work in the garden, go for long bike rides or read old issues of Fine Gardening.

It's too early to know if this will be a good rain year on the Left Coast, but whether Santa Barbara reaches our usual 18 inches or the stingy six of a few years back, doesn't it make sense to take advantage of every ounce we do receive?

With all the paved surfaces that surround us, it's amazing anything gets into the ground. Back in the heartland, you're "winterizing" your cars. I think we'd be wise to do the same for our gardens. So here are a few things you can do to make the most of every drop that falls on your property.

Let's start with that lawn.

Fundamental question. What does your lawn do for you? I'm not a complete anti-lawn zealot, mind you. If you've got kids who need somewhere to blow off some energy, or you're trying out for the Olympic croquet team, a lawn is the only practical surface. But if you don't use it, lose it-or at least downsize it.

Consider the monetary and environmental costs of a typical lawn. In the West, 60 percent of our residential water use is for lawns. The monthly water bill is only part of the equation: add the environmental cost of polluted run-off from fertilizers in our creeks and gas mowers that spew 10 times more emissions than a typical automobile and you can see why you might want to rethink your attachment to this big green beast.

Read more at Fine Gardening...

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