Thursday, June 21, 2007
Summer's here and I'm not so thrilled
Those of you who’ve taken my classes or heard me wax poetical about life, the universe and everything (including gardens) know that I’m a slug. Not in the lazy sense, but like the mollusk. I divide people's climate preferences into lizards (who find a south-facing rock and climb up on top of it to toast in peace) and slugs who “glide” to the north side of the rock and try to get under it. Think Tucson vs Seattle.
So imagine the sinking feeling this morning when instead of waking to the June Gloom of gray skies and droplets on the ground, there was that yellow gas ball some 93 million miles way shouting “It’s the first day of summer, rejoice!” Bah, humbug.
For our gardens, it’s a mixed blessing. I know that my new buddies at the Rose Society, where I spoke last week, are jumping backflips. Sunshine chases away mildew, makes buds burst, and cranks the photosynthesis machine into overdrive. It’s great for your t’maters and p’taters, too!
But the solar Scrooge in me knows that the plants in our parks and backyards will be consuming more agua, wildfires are more likely, we have to slather on more sunscreen, and be more alert about our personal hygiene (so as not to offend). We'll be watering our lawns more, even if we're not actually sure they need it.
So, I hope you enjoy the Solstice Parade downtown. Don’t want to take that away from ANYONE. But PLEASE, monitor your irrigation this summer so as not to waste a precious drop--Santa Barbara has special concrete sidewalks that don't need irrigation. Water in the coolest times of the day. Check the automatic controller if you have one, or turn on the kitchen timer if you’re setting up a hose, just to make sure you’re not overdoing it.
Last thing—a few hours after you’ve watered dig down with a trowel or a soil probe (free from your water agency) and see how far the water really went down; then adjust your timing.
So, I’ll be crawling back under my rock while y’all play in the sun. See ya when the gloom rolls back in.