Water and Gardening go Hand in Hand

I woke up Wednesday morning to a slow and gentle rain; the kind that makes gardeners smile.IMG_1609

Water from Wednesday’s rain collected in my stock tank.

When it comes to July & August, Texas is a cooker.  I feel fortunate I live in east Texas versus central Texas where I lived previously.  On the whole, Central Texas has always been hotter and drier than east Texas. This year was no exception.

This summer, Central Texas experienced several over 100-degrees F (38 degrees Celsius) days, some of which were record breakers.  In contrast, my little town has yet to break 100 F/38 C.  We’ve also seen far more rain than Central Texas.

For most of July, I watered the in-ground plants every 4 days, and the potted plants get a daily drink.  Watering everything can take a couple of hours, so I work to get it done in the early morning when it’s cool, and of course, any drops of rain are deeply appreciated at this time of year.

I water by hand using a garden hose.  I’d love to know how you water.  Is your water costly? Does your area suffer from droughts and if it does, do you do anything special at those times?

Water can be expensive in Texas depending upon where you live.  There have been private corporations that purchased the water sources for small towns and subsequently increased the prices to outrageous levels.

That’s not happened here, thank goodness.

Apparently, our town wants to conduct a rate study for water and would like to install new water meters. Does this mean our water bills will rise?  Maybe.

Related to the water meters, I came across this fake news article that made me chuckle. I thought you might find it funny too.

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Newly planted (June) Globe Thistle, Echinops Ritro, in mulch.

Most of my in-ground plants are mulched with wood chips.  Some may not need as much mulch once established.

From time to time, I read plant articles from other areas of the U.S. with a negative bent given to mulch. Yes, mulch can be ugly, but I believe it is almost essential for healthy plants in Texas.  I’m guessing other areas of the U.S. get more water than Texas, and their hot temperatures aren’t as extreme and don’t last as long.

All of this post is to say, I think as gardeners it’s important to look at how much water we use and to find clever ways to reduce our water consumption or waste when possible.   I do believe in climate change, and I think water will only become more valuable as time goes by.

Finally, unrelated to water, my Kolstad Inn neighbors gifted me all of their concrete stepping stones, which they plan to replace with flagstone.  I was very happy to get them, and I believe I can use them all.

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Above: Stepping stones from my neighbors at the Kolstad Inn.

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Above: A few stepping stones put into place.

I’d love to add black Mexican beach pebbles around the stepping stones, but they don’t sell them here or in Tyler, TX, our closest big city.  In fact, when I called a Tyler, TX gravel yard to inquire about them, the guy said, “No, we don’t have them.  They cost too much.”  Bummer!

Happy Blogging!

 

13 thoughts on “Water and Gardening go Hand in Hand

  1. Great to recycle stepping stones. These can be expensive. As for water, many areas of Australia have similar problems to Central Texas. Australia is the land “of drought and flooding rains,” depending on where you live. In Melbourne we have just had the second driest July on record and it is winter, so they may have to activate the yet to be used desalination plant. We have six rain water tanks that are nearly empty. These flush our toilets to save money and water. Now the weather bureau is saying we could have a hot summer. During our last drought in the noughties we drained the washing machine grey water onto the lawn and this helped. I hope that the new desal. plant will have enough capacity to prevent extreme water restrictions like we have had in the past. Using buckets to water the garden is a pain in the back.

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    1. I hear you in regard to water restrictions, which we had in Austin for many summers. I, too, had large rain water tanks, but mine were only used to water plants, not for the house. I hope it rains soon for you so they refill. Sounds like you do everything right when it comes to watering. I’d be very interesting in knowing whether or not they activate the desal. plant and if they do, if it made a difference for the restrictions.

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      1. I forgot to say that we also have 2 large wheelie bins that are filled by water from our carport roof. We use this on the pots and put watering cans in a garden cart to take them around. It is hard work so we usually wait till their are tighter water restrictions. We also mulch but use mostly fallen leaves and dead tree fern fronds. Everything goes back into the garden. Ellie said that she is pretty sure that they are going to activate the desal. plant for this summer. It has been sitting idle for a while and cost millions (it had to be repaired after it was flooded in a storm).

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  2. GREAT POST! We have our own well here on the farm which I am thankful for. I usually water the newly transplanted plants for a few days then they can handle it pretty well after that. If we have a dry spell I also water every few days. The potted plants get a good soaking maybe once a week if we don’t have rain. I never water the garden, though… Dad (who is 86) always says if you plant in the sign you won’t have to water. (LOL). Even though there is usually a dry spell and I want to water the garden, I don’t. It always does very good and eventually rains so I haven’t had to. Good thing, because I don’t have a long enough hose. Mississippi was a different story. I watered the plants in the pots everyday in the summer and the garden and flower beds every couple of days. If you want thistles, I can send you some seeds. A different species came up by the barn in 2014 with beautiful, long, silvery leaves. I let it grow and flower but cut them down before the seeds dried. Even so, I still have a few of them come up elsewhere. The other thistles are more like a plague. The fake news article was funny.

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    1. A close friend of mine also gardens by the signs/moon. She swears by it, and she’s been gardening for some 50 years. I like some thistles, but also realize that some can be invasive. You’re very lucky to have a well! It also sounds like you have a good system for watering.

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      1. There may be something to gardening by the sign of the moon, and I won’t say anything against people’s belief. But, you don’t always have time to wait on it. Like this year when I planted in a barren sign and have an excellent crop. Explain that with the almanac… When i was in Mississippi I didn’t have an almanac to go by… I need to write a post about gardening by the sign. 🙂

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  3. Climate change is hectic. In Zambia the rainy season arrives 2 – 3 months later than it used to years ago. Heavy rains last year helped to raise levels of Kariba Dam which supplies water & generates hydroelectric power, but for 2 years prior to that the area was stricken with drought and we had heavy loadshedding (power cuts for those who don’t live in Africa, sometimes as long as 8 to 12 hours; start up the generator, buy a gas stove…) We have temperatures similar to yours (high thirties, low forties Centigrade) from late September until the rainy season arrives – October is dubbed ‘suicide month’ it’s so crazy hot and dry. My sweet, handy husband built frames for my vegetable patches last year & covered them with shadecloth to keep the plants from wilting and minimize watering. Once the rain arrives though it’s a daily downpour that rots tomatoes and root crops – I move what I can into containers on the patio and watch the lawn go underwater during the storms.

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    1. I can’t imagine living with the kind of power cuts you describe. The shade cloth your husband puts up sounds like a great idea. Unfortunately, I keep reading that these droughts will become more prevalent as we go into the future.–One reason why I’m trying to steer clear of planting a lot of water-thirsty plants.

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    1. You’re right about the problem of mulch being too thick.–If the mulch is too thick, then sometimes it sheds the water, plus it can rot some plants if it’s up against their main stem or trunk. It’s a Catch-22.

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  4. In my city, just south of Vancouver Canada, we are usually blessed with plenty of Pacific Northwest rainfall, as this area was once a rain forest. Grey sky and rain are the norm. Our regional fresh water reservoirs usually overflow into the ocean for eight months of the year.

    Despite that, we are now on a metered water system, and for me that means water costs have quadrupled. A bit surreal considering we have so much fresh water that it just overflows or is released. I pay $2.34 per cubic metre of water.

    We also have permanent watering restrictions six months of the year, to get us into the habit of thinking of water as a resource that must be rationed….and paid for. My garden can only be handwatered, no running hoses allowed, you stand there and depress the lever with your hand, with the exception of a couple of days a week where from 5am-9am I am allowed to use a sprinkler. I rarely sprinkle though, and I allow the grass to brown. It will be green again soon enough.

    But every second year we seem to have a dry spell with little rain for a month or two, and this quickly depletes my roof rain barrels. Like this year, where I hear that water metre ticking in my sleep!

    I mulch with shredded leaves that I collect each fall and run over with the mower. This works well for me, I have plenty of trees and the local schoolyard has more!

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