Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Gardening in the Desert

It's where I put my plants, so it's my garden.  I try to ignore the fact that it is prickly and brown and dependent upon enormous amounts of supplemental irrigation just to stay even, let alone put out flowers of any color or substance even though it's summer time and that plus garden should equal earthly delights.

Not so much here in Tucson.  I went out early this morning, before the heat brought out the snakes after the bunnies and coyotes had finished their rounds.  There's a sweet spot for the sun then, too.  It puts both my front and back containers in the shade.  Without my gloves, I surveyed the scene.

Pieces of the irrigation system are mal-functioning; I left the tools to repair the situation outside overnight.  The Bic lighter was out of fuel so I couldn't heat the tubing; I thought that the sun alone would soften it, but that didn't happen.  I cooked dinner and forgot about the breech I'd created when the lighter failed.  This morning I was privileged to watch as the emitter-less tube, waving aimlessly,  disgorged a stream of (hot) water.  I knew that it was futile to attempt to stopper it, but the water flying in my face as I tried cooled me off and made the whole thing feel marginally less wasteful.

I aimed the tube into the watering can and moved on.

That which has been consistently watered is quite happy.  That which suffered during the 24 hours the system was shut off (I did it and forgot to turn it back on) has, for the most part, come back to life.  The plants whose leaves curled brown and fell off, the branches brittle enough to be snapped, those were pruned and planted in the live here or turn to compost pot.  Those which the bunnies and prairie dogs pruned in the name of nutrition and hydration (there's water in the xylem and phloem, after all)  joined them.

I watered and fertilized everything, using the manual setting on the controller and remembering to reset it to automatic when I was through.... I think.... I'll go out and check after I finish writing this.... because that's one of the main lessons you learn when you garden in the desert - mistakes can be costly.

I'll be up tomorrow morning, continuing to help things limp along.  There is always something to do.  I just wish that the temperature would drop out of triple digits so that I could do it.

5 comments:

  1. We took out everything in the Tucson garden that wasn't xeriscape and use drip waterers with a neighbor checking. It still has a ton of things that go wrong-- like something eating through the hose and water going down the driveway, timer not working, etc. etc. I so love tucson plants though that just keep plugging along, feeling sad when I lose one that I valued. A few places just can't keep a living plant going-- even a desert plant by nature.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I did that too. In the beginning, I tried more exotic species, but I'm back to the tried and true. The animals didn't eat through any tubing this check, but something with big scat landed on a point of divergence last month and several plants suffered until we noticed the jet shooting up into the sky.

      Those that do survive are heroic, that's for sure!
      a/b

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  2. My mother was a gardener. When we lived in Virginia, she had amazing plants blessed by an amazing compost pile. When my parents moved to Tucson, she was not a happy camper. She was so garden deprived they moved to Arkansas to a nine acre lot where they once again had an enormous garden.

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    Replies
    1. I feel her pain! In California, I used to go outside and stick my fingers in the soil, just to get a rush :-)
      a/b

      Delete
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