Tuesday, May 24, 2005
I'm trying to stay awake past my normal bedtime not because I'm off work tomorrow and could possibly sleep in a bit, but because I'm watering the weeds out front and the sprinkler needs to run for a while longer. Since they are weeds, they require much less water than a conventional lawn, but I can't ignore them completely. If they should die and the ground go bare then the clay soil will turn into an impenetrable brick where nothing will grow for the next 5 years. I know this because that was the state of one section of our backyard when I moved in over 10 years ago. We called it the mud pit and bought hay bales every time we had a party so folks wouldn't end up with muddy or dusty feet. Eventually the hay tuned to compost and weeds actually started to grow, but it took about 5 years and even now there are still bare spots. By watering at night I am breaking one of the "gardening rules" for this area which is that you should NEVER water at night. But these are weeds and I figure they are capable of standing up to the slugs, snails, pill bugs and fungal diseases that night watering encourages. The veggies post more of a dilemma since I don't want them to have to deal with such things, but I am also not supposed to water in the afternoon either. I'm not sure why, maybe because of the heat. All these gardening rules confuse me. And it doesn't really matter what the rules are because I HAVE to water at some point in the late afternoon or early evening, rules or no rules. On a hunch, I've been taking my cue from the flowering tobacco plants. I wait until the blooms are open and then I water. I don't know what their cue is to open, but it seems to be tied more to air temperature than sunlight or maybe it's some combination of both. So far it seems to be working provided you don't count the one pot of green beans. And my mom suggested that maybe those were just planted during the wrong phase of the moon. Her father swore by it and this was a man who not only fed a family of ten from the home garden, but who was also not apt to blindly believe in superstition. So while there's no scientific proof, I figure it can't hurt to pay a little more attention to the moon phases in the future. Besides, I'll be following a family tradition.