Living Green: Changing weather means garden adaptability

March 8, 2024

Around this time of year in southern California, with winter almost behind us, we’d typically start turning our attention to our gardens again.

We might consider planting flowering vines and cool season annuals, like pansies and English daisies.

If kids have been playing on it, our lawns will be compacted, which means water will run off rather than being absorbed. You can use a coring machine or lawn aerator to remove plugs from the turf, which will aerate the grass – holes can be filled with well-rotted compost or worm casings if you have them available.

Food growers can look at planting spinach, kale, parsley, lettuce, peas, carrots, leeks and beets, and maybe some blueberries.

It’s wise to trim any ornamental grass, leaving four to six inches of growth above the ground.

These are all the sorts of activities we’d undertake in a typical winter-to-spring seasonal change. But thanks to the increasing occurrence of abnormal weather events in recent times, we now need to be prepared for any kind of climatic conditions, just about, at any time of year.

For the home gardener, this entails becoming intimately familiar with our irrigation systems, as we may need to deactivate or reactivate them during times of the year when watering schedules aren’t typically a concern.

If you’ve got a multi-zone system, inspect each irrigation zone and all sprinkler heads to ensure they’re operating properly. Turn on the zone manually at your controller and watch for the heads to pop up and spray – they may need to purge air initially. If they’re trapped under new growth, you might see a puddle begin to form. In that case you’ll need to clear the grass to enable proper operation.

Also be on the lookout for leaks along any part of your system. This may be indicated through low pressure, which could also suggest there’s a kinked pipe. Leaks or kinks will need to be repaired or adjusted respectively.

Ensure your rotary heads are rotating properly and that misting heads are displaying proper spray patterns; if they’re not, you may need to fix or replace the heads.

Check that each zone turns on and off when operating it from the controller. Repeat this process for every zone on your system.

These inspections should be done every couple of weeks when the system is in regular use, or monthly (when temperatures are not at freezing). Be prepared to shut down your regular irrigation runtimes if there’s unexpected rain or temperatures drop suddenly.

This article originally appeared here.

Calsense H2Omics Blog

We want to hear your thoughts! Share what you think about our H2OMICS blog below.