Monday, December 12, 2011

Rain shadow, rain shadow

I've been singing since I came in from the garden.

Finally a bit of rain after so much cold, but dry weather. The garden needs it, and I need it since the breakdowns in the irrigation system mean watering isn't a hands-off experience. At least until I get the problems fixed.

I used to live somewhere where it rained almost every night most of the year, and was generally clear during the day. It was nice in that respect. From my current perspective, I didn't appreciate it enough. My sandy soil, even with amendments, drains quickly and the plants prefer consistent watering. So I am always happy to see our rainy season come along when things like carrots are much easier.

Even so, there are pockets of my garden that are not as fortunate as others.

This bed is in the middle of the yard, beside the apricot tree but not under anything. Nice and moist.


Then, there's the Acacia Tree of Doom.


If you were an onion plant or a volunteer Red Russian kale, this would be your skyward view. Personally, I wish this tree would go to the great beyond the way the one in our yard did years ago. I'm not in charge, however, so we content ourselves with cutting back what we can.

It's not quite enough, as you can possibly see:


Really dry under there. The rain has to be excessive or at a slant to get past the tree's umbrella.In addition, I bet some of the roots are underneath it, sucking water up even if it does get to the surface. So I water this bed by hand or carefully plant dry-tolerant crops there.

What kind of microclimates does your yard have?

4 comments:

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

That Acacia is huge! Not a fan of them myself, they make me sneeze when they're in bloom in Jan/Feb. Gardening on slopes here we have a lot of wet/dry variability in our soils. We have to be careful not to underwater plants up slope, or overwater plants down slope, it's tricky! We're having a little trouble in parts of our veggie garden area this winter with some oaks casting too much shadow over a few garden beds. Moss is not something I want to see growing with the kale, so some selective tree thinning may be in order for us this year!

Kristin Sherman Olnes said...

Oh those darn Acacia. I've got three in the bottom of my neighbor's yard encroaching on my space, sprouting on my side; and they are getting tall enough to block the sun off of my already partially sunny terrace. The problem is coordinating a cut down with my neighbor and my husband at the same time.

I like your writing in this post. It flows and it's visual. Keep them coming please.

I don't want the rain yet, as training our puppy to "go potty" outside in the mud means more mess to clean up.

Stefaneener said...

CVS, no I hate them for all kinds of reasons. This tree isn't in great shape, but I'm not in charge of cutting it down. I bet a slope is difficult! So many things to pay attention to.

Kristin, at least you guys can cut it down! Since this is the neighbor with the fallen down shed, I don't think a tree cutting is high on their priority list.

kitsapFG said...

We have the tree problem too but my husband about comes unglued when I talk about cutting down a few of them. Some day, I may be able to selectively remove the worst offenders - but I have to keep working on him about it. We get a lot of rain during the wet season October - April but my soil drains really well so it is not a problem. During the dry season though, that same soil wants to dry out very quickly so I have to really stay on top of irrigation. We have one section of the garden that is really sloped as well but we terraced our beds which makes it much easier to manage the watering in that situation.