Sunday, March 13, 2005

Grim day in the garden

No, I didn't drop a rock on my foot, throw my back out planting a shrub, or come in contact with an itchy ground cover. It's not the usual.

It's the garden itself. It's thirsty.

Here it is, mid March, and plants are blooming a month early. And they are shriveling up just a few days later, as if it were mid-July. The sky is bright blue, the sun is hot, and for some reason the wind is powerful enough that a gust can blow a cup of tea right off the patio table. The garden beds are as dry as dust--not just on the surface, but six inches down. The tulips that bloomed Monday are already wilting. The governor has announced a drought emergency.

Fortunately, our garden is a fairly mature one, and there are no plans for any major plantings this year, just some weeding and re-arranging. Two out of the past three years I've used rubber soaker hoses on most of the garden beds, and this year I'm going to deploy them on all of the beds with snap-on hose connectors so I can easily bring the main hose to each soaker section. I'm vowing to stick to a schedule of once-a-week deep watering, and get plenty of chicken grit and compost to correct the two beds that currently have poor drainage. One of my neighbors suggested getting a rainbarrel, so I'll likely go up to my favorite nursery, Sky in Shoreline, and pick up a good one.

That, of course, assumes that at some point we'll actually get rain.

Today I watered--watered in March!--using the new 75' coiled garden hose purchased at the garden show last month. Though slim, it moves plenty of water for the "shower" setting that works well on garden beds. It's lightweight, so I don't feel as though I'm dragging a dead python around the garden. But the coils cause it to tangle something fierce on anything uneven it its path (a gatepost, a plant, or the hose guides I use to prevent hoses from squashing plants). And when the hose crosses itself, and the coils get tangled in the coils--it's downright miserable. Finally, you can't loop it up on a hose holder to store it. I'm not sure how you store it--perhaps on a pole? At the moment, it's on our garden pathway where I dumped it after I finished watering. I'll figure out a storage solution tomorrow. I hope I don't have to buy the coiled hose hammock I just Googled.


  1. The City of Seattle offers rainbarrels at a discount $52/ea. Go to the public utilities website to find info.

  2. Thank you! I've ordered one. It has mosquito screens, overflow valve, the works.