Thursday, April 12, 2012

Water Deeply

It's April and it's beginning to get hot. Not "hot" as we know it in the coming months. Not "hot" as we will understand it next fall. April's hi temps are in the 90s - and next fall that will feel like a breath of fresh air. We know this, and yet it still feels hot to us, because it is a harbinger of what is to come. What you, depending on your bent, either relish or fear. I'm in the fear department.

Silly, because it is really so beautiful outside - absolutely the best wild flower season. My iris have bloomed for the first time ever. Last year they were moved into the bulb garden to get more sun, but didn't flower. This year they are glorious.

The heat signals a change in season for the plants as well. Some - like the lettuces and peas - are at the end of their run, and are bolting or dying. This week we started clearing out the beds of the spent plants. We transplanted what spinach was still viable, cut out 6 inches of the topsoil, dug underneath that to loosen the bed for new roots, added in good compost and dug that in deeply. Then we transplanted 3 Pontano and 1 Italian Red Pear tomato, planted seeds for Punta Banda and Nichols Heirloom tomatoes, and seeds for Sinahuisa chiles. I also sprinkled in a healthy dose of zinnia seeds - to combat white flies.

Other plants - like onions and peppers - have survived the winter and are starting to show the promise which will be harvested in the next couple of months. It is time to adjust the watering technique for these plants to a slow trickle to cause a deep soak. Roots grow into air pockets, which are identified to them by water flow. It's as if the water soaking through the dirt entices the root to grow into the cracks. A deep soak encourages the roots to grow deeply; away from the sun's hot rays and into the coolth of the earth.

Over the coming months we will employ more measures to avoid the sun's hottest rays. But for now it is enough to water deeply. FYI: March temps are in the 80s. April in the 90s. June = 100s. July = 110s and, yes - I kid you not - August can = 120s.  Uff da me.

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