Enough Rain Already!

| January 12, 2017 | 7 Replies

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!

Enough Rain Already! (Did I Just Say That?) - wet garden

Late Bloomer Garden saturated with rain

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.

Enough Rain Already! (Did I Just Say That?) - rain capture vessels

Rain capture vessels overflowing

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.

Enough Rain Already! (Did I Just Say That?) - rain in bucket

Rain hitting the smallest rain capture vessel

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.

Enough Rain Already! (Did I Just Say That?) - wood chips

6-8″ wood chips topping off the raised beds

My winter garden annuals are all growing in cloth pots on top of the chips.

Enough Rain Already! (Did I Just Say That?) - brassicas under voile

Brassicas growing in pots under voile

Enough Rain Already! (Did I Just Say That?) - peas in pots

Sweet peas in pots on top of wood 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!

Enough Rain Already! (Did I Just Say That?) - puddle

Puddle in my narrow walk-way

When I was out shooting these photos, I grabbed my first sweet pea, and made a morning snack out of it. Delicious!

Enough Rain Already! (Did I Just Say That?) - sweet pea

Cascadia sweet pea – order Cascadia seeds here!

My New Years Day vlog tomato seeds sprouted and I’ve already thinned the cells to two per.

Enough Rain Already! (Did I Just Say That?) - sprouts

Kaye’s tomato sprouts

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.

Enough Rain Already! (Did I Just Say That?) - seeds

Downy mildew resistant seeds

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.

Enough Rain Already! (Did I Just Say That?) - monarch caterpillar

Monarch chrysalis forming

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.

Enough Rain Already! - Sweet Life Garden

Kaye & Jacq Davis with Jill Green in her Sweet Life Garden


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Category: Environment, Rain, Urban Gardening

Comments (7)

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  1. . I am curious if the downy mildew resistant seed will help. Beyound that ,I have a feeling that the combo of the rain and mulch will help a lot too . Rain from the sky is full of nitrogen and magnetic energy so different from well water. Plants always do better with rain though too much can be a problem.:)Sharon

    • IDK. I left one tomato in the garden and it has mildew and blight on lower leaves as it did in summer, but I hated to pull it out. Lot of green growth, but can I keep the mildew suppressed? IDK.

      • The biodynamic solution is to spray fermented or even just a tea of horstail(508) in the morning hours as a mist as a preventative measure. I am not sure it would work in a garden that does not use the rest of the biodynamic preparations on the soil and compost . The only other suggestion I have heard is camomile tea . You might want to visit the Rudolf Steiner college in CA for get a deeper understanding of how it works

  2. Kaye, I know how frustrating it can be when rain, something we all need, comes down in epic proportions leading to flooding and mud slides in neighboring communities. Your garden looks like it drains well and the wood chips will help keep soil from splashing up on the plants and slow (or stop) erosion. I’m amazed that your already starting tomato seedlings and picking peas. The Christmas lights in the garden made me smile. Love what you’ve done. And thanks for sharing it with us.

    • Thank you so much, Kathy! Your comment has made my day! I’ve decided to keep the lights going, at the least till April when I plant six tomato plants in there. That was my only pea so far, but I think tomorrow I will see what’s out there. We have our first sunny day. See my instagrams today of the chrysallises and borage just popping open! Thanks for your support!!

  3. James says:

    Congratulations on California ending it’s drought. Have you given any thought to obtaining an IBC container cistern?

    Have any of your neighbors asked you to use their land to plant on? Would you if asked?

    • Hi, James, I have looked into those, and don’t know where I would put it. On one side of the house there’s 5′ to the fence and you have to be able to walk through there. The other is the driveway where I carved out the space for the rain barrels. Those are much bigger I understand, and have to be managed. Anyway, no I have not considered it practical here. This is a freak atmospheric window. It has not rained a fraction this much in the 23 years I’ve been in this house. I don’t expect it to be a repeat performance, so I plan to make do with what I have. If you followed Late Bloomer episodes in 2015, you saw that I got permission to plant at 2 neighbors. One had a built in planter that got a lot of sun (the tomatoes still got consumed by powdery mildew) and I had a hard time managing the irrigation, not living there. The other garden, which was laid out like a garden and I envisioned GREAT things, I got it all planted and they adopted a big labrador and would not put up a fence. He dug and ran through all the beds, and I didn’t have any help with weeds which they had a lot of. So, I wore myself out for nothing. I’ve been offered across the street at my friends’ house, but I told her she would have to invest in raised beds and irrigation (because it’s hard-packed clay soil with crabgrass growing all in it). I can’t afford to put that in. So, that didn’t go anywhere. I have found this year with adding the Vlog videos that I don’t have the hours in the day to maintain more and keep up producing the content. So, we shall see. It’s very frustrating here in this space because of so little sun and so moist near the ocean and it doesn’t freeze so spores of powdery mildew are ever present. In fact, I just came in from spraying my sweet peas with neem oil. Thanks for writing!!

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