Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Rain Dance

We finally got rain three nights ago. I know this only because when I opened the laundry room door to take the girls for their morning walk on Monday, I was surprised to find the walkway around the porch wet. It took a moment or two for this register in my mind as an indicator of precipitation. It's been so long since we've had any measurable rain that I felt a bit as if I were in a dream. When the reality sank in, I shouted to Turfman as if someone had left us a pile of cash outside our door.  We quickly began investigating other areas of the property to get some idea of just how much it had rained, a little disappointed at having slept so soundly through the night and missing the big event. All indicators suggested that we had gotten a reasonable amount. It wasn't until I returned home from work to find the ground in the vegetable garden still wet that I realized we could consider it a substantial downpour. The rain finally arriving was a surprise at first, but having had some time to consider the situation, I'm pretty sure I know what brought the rain.

I've always held the belief that if I didn't want it to rain, I just have to carry an umbrella with me. If I'm prepared for it, not a drop will fall. Very recently I had come to the conclusion that it may never rain here again. To that end, I spent a day this past weekend installing a drip irrigation system for the vegetable garden. If the rain refused to come, I would bring the water to my garden. I could no longer handle running around, as Alan Titchmarsh once put it in his gardening show, "like a scalded cat," trying to keep everything from withering in the parched soil. I had to make a big purchase of a splitter for the outdoor spigot, a two zone timer, and a 75' garden hose to reach the front edge of the garden. That's where I began hooking up the brilliant system components that DIG Corporation sent me a while ago when I won a contest they sponsored. (The drip irrigation system is something else I packed up and brought with me from the Orlando garden.) I laid the main 1/2" poly tubing around the perimeter of the garden where the "wall" will eventually be (lots to look forward to) and then cut a line across to the first planter bed. As I drop each new planter in, I'll splice into the perimeter water line to install another drip line. In fact, I'll be doing that tomorrow night since I just finished another planter in time for the seedlings I've been growing in modules to be planted out.

The new drip line in place

The first planter now has a twin…whose wood needs to
age a bit.

When I surveyed my work, I felt justifiably smug. "Ha!," I thought. "Who needs you, stinking rain? I can take care of everything myself!"And so the timer opened the valve every six hours to deliver 10 minutes of gently dripping water to my little seedlings. By Sunday night, the ground finally looked like garden soil instead of the hideous dust that I had been handling.

And then it rained. It rained enough so that the garden was still damp on Monday night. I had to turn off the spigot to avoid drowning my seedlings. It rained Tuesday night, but a little lighter. I didn't have to open the water valve again until this evening. 

Just like carrying an umbrella--reverse rain psychology.

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