Planting Seeds in the Rain of El Nino

| January 5, 2016 | Reply

I found myself planting seeds in the rain of El Nino today during our first rain event. If you’ve been following California weather, you know we are supposed to get extreme weather during this winter’s El Nino. Only a drought-weary gardener ventures out with a bad cold to plant seeds in the rain. It wasn’t planned. It was an improvisation, which is why I am wearing pajamas in this shot.

Planting Seed in El Nino - pajamas

My soaked pajamas and shoes

I ducked out to transfer my rainwater overflow pipe to another 60-gallon trash can, and I was struck by remorse that I had not planted every section of my winter garden. What better time to sink seeds into earth than during a rare rain when the ground is deliciously wet?

Planting seed in El Nino - wet bed

Freshly planted cilantro bed and cloth pot

My clothes dryer has been going for hours. Boy, what a mess it is to plant seeds in the rain. It’s ridiculous. Forget getting the right amount of seed in a row when the seed packet is melting from rain. It will be interesting to see what comes up. (It always is!)

Planting Seeds in El Nino - seed packs

Soaked seed packets in my dirty hands

It rained for a good four hours. My poor Monarch caterpillars were soaked. It’s way too late in the year for them to be here anyway, but I have at least a dozen on this narrow leaf milkweed.

Planting Seeds in El Nino - Monarch caterpillar

Monarch caterpillar dripping wet under leaf

This is the first glimpse of the new layout of the Late Bloomer garden, which I will reveal with there’s more green than brown. This is also the first time I have used pine shavings on my walkways. I always used alfalfa before, but someone on YouTube recommended I try these, and they are a lot less expensive, so we shall see. I was praying that the rain would come before a nasty wind, which would have blown them everywhere. Since I had more shavings, I used them for mulch over the planted beet seed.

Planting Seeds in El Nino - beet bed

Newly planted beet bed covered in pine shavings for mulch

Every rain vessel is full, about 350-gallons, so I let the overflow tube flow on the ground. Tomorrow, I’m getting two more Ivy rain barrels, so that’s another 150 gallons I can preserve for when the garden gets dry. I’m not sure, now, where they will go, because I remembered the downspout off the back of the house is the original copper, so I won’t be hacking into it like I did the tin.

Planting Seeds in El Nino - rain capture

Rain capture arena

Three hours later, with as many soakings to the skin (I need rain gear!), there were more beet, radish and cilantro seeds in ground and sweet potatoes in containers. I have to cover plantings with wire or netting to keep out cats and raccoons.

Planting seeds in El Nino - containers

Containers with sweet potatoes planted

By 3:00PM, the sun was out, and mist was rising off the art studio. This IS California, after all!

Planting Seeds in El Nino - mist

Art studio with mist, background, Green Stalk foreground

I didn’t even know what a corn plant was before I was asked to do an Urban Garden Series on eHow. This is the plant I used in the video, which was neglected until recently. Amazing how plants respond when you give them some love. Click to check out the whole series!

Planting Seeds in El Nino - corn plant bloom

First ever bloom from my corn plant

Do you find yourself planting seeds in the rain? Please let me know, and thanks for reading! – Kaye

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Category: Environment, Rain, Urban Gardening

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