I confess I tried to lure you in with a recent photo of a Gulf Fritillary butterfly in the header pic. They really are darting about in the greenhouse and garden now and thus have a perfectly earned place here in the garden blog. However, my main garden focus these last couple of weeks has been on something much less appealing to the eye, and I didn’t think you’d want to see that first, so I cheated. 😉 THIS is what I’ve been staring at:
Drip Irrigation System
The drip irrigation system may not be a scenic part of the garden, but it is essential to the garden here, especially during this year’s drought. This system keeps all the veggies, fruit trees, berries and habitat plants like buddleias (and the fritillaries fave: passionflower vine) alive, apparently with a water efficiency of 90% or more. Each tree or veggie gets sustained by little drops of water which are programmed to occur on certain days and times according to their needs. The water droplets are absorbed into the soil slowly and do not run off over the surface, like hand watering often does.
Having a drip irrigation system requires upkeep though. Certain lines can stop working and require troubleshooting. Sometimes a rodent nibbles a hole in a drip line and that creates a leak. It’s a quick fix but frequent checking is needed to spot leaks early. The filter needs periodic cleaning to remove any debris. Our control box above was very old–possibly well over a decade, and we were having various issues, so it was replaced this week. Plus, as the garden evolved over the decades, the drip lines grew disorganized, and have now been given some much needed refurbishment.
The Dig irrigation shown to the right is a simple version that hooks up easily to an outdoor spigot. You can’t do multiple settings with this one, so it’s best if your plants have similar watering needs.
Like so much else in the gardening world, some parts of drip systems are becoming scarce right now. Considering that the pandemic saw an increase of about 17-20 million new gardeners in the U.S. alone, it isn’t surprising. Apparently, our local nursery saw their last order of 10,000 one-gallon emitters fly off the shelves in three days!
I’m all for more gardeners! Gardens are not just beautiful, some provide food and wildlife habitat and benefits to the environment — gardens have also shown how important they can be to mental health. And being able to share the gift of extras is an untarnished joy and one that can bond neighbors and help build a resilient community.
Elsewhere in the Garden
While we’ve been so engrossed with drought-related care, the veggie garden has quietly erupted and now looks more like a wild forest than anything domestic and planned. The “weeds” are taking over the paths. Happily though, this year the weeds are lovely self-seeders: chamomiles and pink breadseed poppies, calendula and California poppies, parsley and verbena bonariensis. There is also a perennial sweet pea that returns every year with enthusiasm. I must have planted it long ago and forgotten?
As usual, the birds haven’t left us many ripe mulberries, but there are a few strawberries for nibbling. The veggies are coming along fine–the zucchini hasn’t flowered yet but looks like it might soon. Some of the spinach and lettuce is about ready for harvest and the very tardy snow peas are finally ready.
The pineapple guavas seem to have off years in terms of number of blooms. This appears to be an ON year. The petals are edible, as are the fruits of course. I usually just eat the fruits by cutting them in half and scooping out with a small spoon. But if there are any leftover from exuberant snacking or fruit salads, they make a delicious summer drink, say, blended with ice and freshly juiced pomegranate, with a dash of agave syrup and lime, (…and perhaps a splash of 100% pure blue agave tequila?) 😉
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