Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Rain, Rain Go Away...

See?! It didn't take long for me to start b*tching about the weather!

We've had about a week of non-stop rain. And, in that time, we've gone from something like "10% of normal" to "80% of normal" rainfall!

We've got a little Digital Weather-Station Gizmo rigged up in the backyard and Greenhouse and, according to DH, we've gotten something like 14" of rain this season - so things aren't as "dismal" as the prognosticators have indicated...

Funny: I was whining to Joisey Kathie today - about how I was sick of all this @#$% rain. She's been dealing with MONTHS of snow, right? So I didn't get a whole lot of sympathy (Hmph!). Hey - what can I say?! I'm (admittedly) a "Wimpy Californian!" One week of rain, and I turn into a Total Puss!!!

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Today, we did get a brief break from the deluge. I actually saw a bright, shining orb in the sky - and the sky had patches of BLUE!

Oh! And there were dark spots under the trees... I think they're called "shadows!"

I was momentarily blinded!!!

Then, in a fit of sheer giddiness (Party Girl that I am), I went out to the back-gate in the yard and dumped a bag of steer manure on top of the rotting leaves that I'd piled on my soon-to-be pumpkin-patch (After I'd set-up a ring of wire-fencing - I *don't* need the dogs to be rolling around in wet, stinky cowsh*t!).

I hope to add compost to that whole area (probably buy a couple bags @ Home Depot, actually, since I'm quite certain I won't have enough of my own for that spot), then I'll drag out the roto-tiller and get that whole area ready for spring-planting.

Since that spot is highly visible, and I'm trying to maintain the "Tropical Vibe" in the yard, I'll plant big-leafed viney-stuff like squashes back there...

Then I wandered back to the "Secret Garden" (which isn't so "Secret" in the wintertime!). I couldn't help but notice the HUGE improvements in the soil back there, in general. See, when I first moved in (in 2001), you couldn't POSSIBLY go back to that part of the yard in wintertime because the clay soil was sooooooo soupy and nasty, you'd sink up to your ankles - and seriously run the risk of losing a shoe! That is NO exaggeration! Oh, and in the summer - it would turn to impenetrable concrete and CRACK!

The first 2-3 years here, I worked diligently on improving the soil in the ENTIRE (1/4 acre) yard. I'd concentrated most of my efforts in the "Garden" area. I created several mobile compost piles (well, "mobile" in the sense that every time I'd turn a pile, it would move about 3-4' - and since I had several piles going, there was LOTS of "mobility!"). And we'd purchased a rototiller from Sears - which saw PLENTY of use those first 2-3 years...

Anyway, I kinda had to give myself a "pat on the back" (much deserved, I think!) because I was able to walk ALL AROUND the garden - and my feet didn't sink into any sludge!

So the moral of the story is: Amending your soil is a VERY GOOD thing! The "Payback" may not be immediate - but it WILL come, AND it will STAY!

(Of course, you do need to keep on top of it, but maintaining it is a whoooole lot easier than starting from scratch!)

Honestly, I didn't pay a whole heckuva lot of attention to the ground in front of the back-gate. That was actually wise because we ended up having (literally) tons of heavy equipment going in/out of that gate during pool construction. That area is pretty solidly compacted now. So I'm working on improving that whole area. Even if the pumpkins/squash don't "thrive" there, this coming season, at least the "attempt" will help break-up and improve the soil (I think/hope!).

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In other Gardening News: Temps are still pretty cool (40's, mostly). But I do have my tomato seedlings started in my Mini-Jiffy-Greenhouse in the bathroom windowsill. They've all sprouted and seem to be doing well. I've got appx 40 new baby seedlings (that will need to be culled back to 22!). My honeydew melon seeds haven't sprouted yet, but I'm confident that they will...

Once everything gets going fairly well, I'll spritz them with chamomile tea (which, I've discovered, does a FANTASTIC job of preventing damping-off!), then move them out to the Real Greenhouse - so I can start another batch of seedlings!

* * * * *
Yep - The Gardening Itch has definitely hit me! I can't WAIT for this rain to finish Doing It's Thing so the sun can come out and we can start ANOTHER Growing Season!

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