Enough Rain Already! Did I just say that? It’s been raining for days, weeks now. This “atmospheric river” hitting California has been unrelenting. And it’s pouring now. Pouring! After eight years of drought, I know I can’t complain, but this is ridiculous!
In fact, it was reported yesterday that severely depleted reservoirs in California are filling up, and this event may reverse the drought. There is so much water coming down in SoCal, that the water district can’t process it fast enough and much of it is being released right back into the sea. My rain capture vessels were full before this storm even hit, so my overflow is headed to the storm drain as well.
The upper midwest is buried in several feet of snow. A gardener and farmer depends on a certain quantity to rain to sustain their plants, but too much at once, or too little over a season, can be devastating.
I’m so glad I got the majority of my driveway of wood chips (watch my Wood Chips for No-Till Gardening episode) layered into my garden before this all started.
My winter garden annuals are all growing in cloth pots on top of the chips.
I wanted to give the wood chips time to start breaking down before planting tomatoes in April (plus all the potting soil I’m reusing was screened for grubs). I know there are hundreds, possibly thousands, of grubs in those wood chips (how do I know? Watch my grubs vlog!) helping the decomposing process. In case you are wondering, I’ve thrown in the towel on getting rid of the grubs for now. I have not seen a mature fig beetle laying eggs since September, so how I have so many grubs is beyond me. They aren’t reproducing underground like worms do!
It’s most rare to be hunkered down inside along with the rest of the country (with the exception of Florida maybe), when I’m usually out working in a sunny garden in January, but here I am. The last two Januarys we had a week of 88° temps, which almost wrecked my cool season veggies. Today, I’m writing a blog to share what’s going on. It’s too wet to film a vlog!
When I was out shooting these photos, I grabbed my first sweet pea, and made a morning snack out of it. Delicious!
My New Years Day vlog tomato seeds sprouted and I’ve already thinned the cells to two per.
As they develop, I will narrow that down to the fittest. Even though I have a lot of my own seeds saved, and have received seeds from others, I will focus on seeding these downy mildew resistant varieties I discovered online. I have been plagued with mildew (powdery and downy) since starting my garden here, and would just like to see if I get better results this year.
A little magic is happening in the kitchen today. I brought two monarch caterpillars in the house before this last deluge to attempt to assure their survival to mature butterflies. One ate till it would pop, as expected, and is progressing into a chrysalis today.
The other (dark shadow behind this one) stopped eating too soon, and is small, but also made the trek to the top of the small pop out laundry basket I am using to keep them safe. When they are done eating, they climb to the top and attach. Once they are attached, they release their feet and curve to a J shape. (See my “Monarchs Migration & Metamorphosis”) Within two hours that will be mint green and a different shape, as it will stay for 3-5 weeks. I also have a swallowtail chrysalis in there since before Thanksgiving. I’m starting to lose hope for it becoming a butterfly. With the consistent temperature in the house, it should have eclosed (emerged) by now.
I just uploaded another terrific Phoenix garden tour vlog yesterday. Beyond the actual physical beauty of Jill Green’s backyard farm and orchard is her generous spirit to engage, inspire and share to her community. These were all filmed during my November visit and as the weather around the country got progressively worse, I have been doling them out.
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