Copyright © Sheryl Williams - Yardfanatic 2016. All rights reserved.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Promises, Promises

September is a transition month here in Central Texas.  I've been tracking rainfall everyday since 2010. and September is the month that we start to get some rain. It's that glorious moisture that gets my gardening juices going again and I start to plan for what I will be putting into the fall vegetable garden.  Of course we still have the heat - that won't break until October.

Rainfall By Month
2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
January 1.89 3.71 3.14 0.54
February 0.81 3.09 0.49 1.03
March 0.22 6.03 1.89 1.58
April 1.48 0.11 0.14 2.45 0.86
May 1.51 1.10 4.73 3.22 7.04
June 5.35 0.94 1.24 2.70 2.47
July 5.09 0.04 6.82 3.99 2.44
August 1.14 0.00 2.02 0.64 0.04
September 10.17 0.00 4.48 4.80 5.55
October 0.05 1.75 0.70 15.32 0.00
November 0.61 2.38 0.00 7.05 0.00
December 1.23 4.66 0.53 0.99 0.00
Annual Total 26.63 13.90 33.49 46.68 21.55
Average 5.33 2.14 5.15 7.18 3.32

We've been lucky this year that the summer has not been as brutal.  We had only a few 100 degree days but it's continued to be pretty dry.  These last three days we've had a nice little rain and it's amazing how transformative it is.  Suddenly plants that look like drooping sticks perk up and start to bloom.  The lantana, salvia, pigeon berry, barbados cherry, chile pequin, oxblood lilies and lindheimer daisy are all in bloom right now - literally over night.  We've even gotten a second asparagus crop.

So amongst all this flush of new growth I venture out and plant my seeds.

They can be such tiny little things but they hold so much promise.  Whether it be a chick hatching, a lamb being born, a butterfly emerging, or a plant germinating, they all just fascinate me.  Watching something be born is to truly see the strength and fragility of life on earth all at the same time.  How can all of this possibly work?  It's such a crap shoot.  Of course all of this wonder disappears as I pull weeds - but you understand.

In the garden I pulled off the alfalfa hay mulch that helped to trap some of that moisture and kick-start the microbial life in the soil.  I raked the beds and then drilled in my seed.  I add a dusting of compost on top to prevent the ground from crusting and to provide a little cover for the seeds.  Once they sprout and I thin the seedlings, I'll add back some hay for mulch.  I mass plant everything to make sure the soil in the vegetable beds are completely covered.   Where I have to plant in a row - like with my snow peas because they climb a fence, I plant something on either side.  This year I side planted a winter greens mix of kale, beets, collards, and dandelion greens.

Once I get my seedbeds planted, I use a piece of woven wire fencing to cover everything.  This keeps the neighborhood cats and opossums from digging everything up.  I'll take the fencing off once the plants are about 3 inches tall.

I also did a little weeding today and am happy to see that the rains have coaxed the wildflowers into sprouting.  I have bluebonnets in the granite gravel.
These will continue to grow and will form nice little rosettes from which will burst those beautiful lupine flowers.  In the front yard I've got gaillardia's starting to sprout and I noticed the Standing Cypress and White Prickly Poppy all have nice little plants started.  I hope this means that my front sedge garden will be a resplendent meadow again next spring.

This is what I love about living here.  Instead of getting ready for the winter to shut everything down, I have thousands of little promises luring me outside to garden.  Now if the humidity and night time temps would just drop...