The year 2021 ends with abundant rainfall. Currently, seasonal precipitation is easily more than half of our annual average, no matter where you live in metropolitan Los Angeles, and more than two-thirds of the average in some areas. And the totals for January and February, often our wettest months, are yet to come.
While we’re still in a state of drought, the current downpour is a welcome relief from last year’s meager rainy season when just 5.82 inches of rain was recorded in downtown Los Angeles.
The beneficial effects of recent rains have been fully seen. Trees look more, greener and cleaner than they have in a while. When a gardener says, referring to rain, “We really need it,” you have to be a gardener to really understand. We could deliver 14.67 inches of water – the average annual rainfall in Los Angeles – through sprinklers or hoses or drip emitters and our crops wouldn’t be as good or healthy as they were when the same amount of water, in the form of rain, sent by the sky. This is a good argument for positioning rain barrels to collect runoff from your roof. Rainwater harvesting is not only about saving water, but also about storing high quality water for irrigation.
There are several reasons that rainwater is more suitable for plants than tap water, but the most important one has to do with tap water chemistry. In tap water, chlorine is used as a disinfectant for waterborne bacteria like E. coli and fluoride is added to prevent tooth decay (as long as you drink one a day). However, nearly all plants are susceptible to chlorosis, which often manifests itself on the edges of burned leaves. Houseplants such as Dracaenas and spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum), as well as pines, yuccas and fruit trees, are especially subject to fluoride toxicity, with symptoms ranging from burned leaves to loss of color or spotting until stressed fruit can become diseased.
Calcium and magnesium are abundant in tap water, making tap water hard and damaging the pipes, which is sometimes remedied by the addition of sodium as a water softener. But calcium and magnesium, although essential for plant growth, can be harmful when supplied through conventional sprinkler systems, where sometimes the residue you see on your leaves comes from These elements are applied in the spraying process. And water softener sodium, like chlorine, is toxic to plant tissue. Moreover, sodium in the soil also harms the structure of the soil. In a productive garden, soil particles clump together into beneficial aggregates. However, sodium disperses these aggregates and can even create cracks in the soil surface.
Incidentally, the best way to add calcium and magnesium to the garden is to use two inexpensive products: gypsum (calcium sulfate) and Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate). While calcium and magnesium are among the minerals that contribute to plant health, the sulfates in these compounds are also beneficial because it converts to sulfuric acid when wet, lowering soil pH and improving fertility. porosity and drainage of the soil.
It should be pointed out that plants look greener after it rains because the air is 78% nitrogen, and nitrogen, above all other elements, is necessary for plants because it is the main component of chlorophyll, the color pigment. green plant and promote photosynthesis. Nitrogen, in the form of nitrate and ammonium, travels down through the rain and is immediately absorbed by plant roots or absorbed through leaf contact.
Green is the best light-absorbing color of all colors, from blue to deep red. However, a small amount of green light reaching the foliage will be reflected and that is the color we see. Even leaves of a different color have chlorophyll embedded and actively photosynthesize within them.
Rainwater also contains more oxygen than tap water. You may think your tree is dangerously waterlogged from too much rain. However, while waterlogging can lead to anaerobic soil conditions and lead to root rot if you over-water your plants, the fact that rainwater has a high oxygen content can provide a safe level of saturated soil after a downpour.
It should be noted that carbon dioxide, when it combines with other compounds in the atmosphere, imparts rainwater an acidic pH. When this acidic rainwater reaches the soil, it helps to release micronutrients like zinc, manganese, copper and iron which are essential for plant growth but are mostly trapped in our local soil, usually has a pH ranging from neutral to alkaline. Remember that the vast majority of plants prefer a slightly acidic soil pH, including whatever you grow in your vegetable garden. Even certain natives like the manzanita (Arctostphylos spp.), grow in soils with a pH that ranges from 4.0 (highly acidic) to 7.0 (neutral).
Another benefit of rain is that it washes salts down outside the root zone. These salts, carried in irrigation water, accumulate throughout the soil surface and inhibit plant growth. When these salts are flushed through the soil, as is happening this winter, the effect is pronounced and plant growth can be explosive. Rain also distinguishes itself by the simple fact that it falls in unison in the garden. This means that all the soil is washed away so that even the furthest parts of the plant’s root zone will be bathed and cleaned of salt.
And, of course, rainwater washes away the mineral deposits, dust, and pollutants that coat the leaves of all of us, each tree being the survivor of the deeply countercultural urban environment we call it. is the homeland. The brilliant view of foliage after the rain is not only a beautiful sight to behold, it is also a boon to photosynthesis. Photosynthesis, the process by which plants convert water and carbon dioxide into carbohydrates which they then use as a life-sustaining energy source, is much more efficient when light reaching the leaves is not filtered by a layer of grit.
Although rain is a blessing, avoid digging or planting in wet soil because after it dries it becomes compact, even brick-like, making it impossible for water and air to seep through. Compressed soil resists reclamation and can stay that way for many years.
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Kniphofia spp. is a species of plant from South Africa that is currently in bloom. Its splendid floral torches, seen in shades of yellow, red, orange or a combination of these, always make you stop and take a second look. A very diverse group, you can find lilies with flower stalks that rise 6 feet in the air and dwarf cultivars that do not exceed 2 feet in height. They grow best in full sun but can accept some shade.
A familiar relative of aloes, lilies need no special attention once established in the garden. One proof of their prowess is the unfortunate fact that they have become invasive weeds in some localities of Australia although this aggression has, to the best of my knowledge, not been observed. observed in Southern California. Once established, they can survive minimal water conditions, but during the flowering season, which can last from early summer to midwinter depending on the species, they will bloom more profusely in moist soil. Hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies fly to the tubular flowers that make up their beautiful inflorescences.
Torch flowers will eventually clog because the rhizomes grow in clusters that, over time, are very susceptible to wilt. When this happens, their flowering decreases and it is time to divide them. A similar phenomenon can be observed, for example, with the Nile lily (Agapanthus). Be aware that once division has taken place, it will take several years for the individual propagating plants to flower again. So resist the urge to split until it’s absolutely necessary.
Tip of the week: If an award for the happiest flower is given, the gerbera will most likely win the prize. The sight of gerbera daisies always brings a smile, and the thought of having their huge bouquets makes you grin from ear to ear.
They show vivid chrysanthemum-like flowers, up to 6 inches in diameter, in crimson, orange, salmon, yellow, pink and white colors. Gerbera is also native to South Africa, a habitat that co-exists with evening primroses and geraniums. What these groundcovers have in common is the desire for the soil to drain quickly and the watering requirement to never exceed one weekly soak.
Gerbera is a plant that grows in clusters and can be divided for propagation purposes. Though considered bad in the garden, I’ve had a clump of growth for almost two decades. It is important to stay hydrated until the leaves begin to curl. They have similar water needs to those of the bromeliad, their companion in Richard Lynch’s San Pedro garden.
Gerbera can be grown indoors as long as it gets plenty of light and a canopy where the roots meet the leaves and don’t touch the surface of the soil. They grow best when temperatures are between 40 and 70 degrees F and thrive at room temperature. When plants are in active growth, fertilize weekly with any water-soluble flowering plant fertilizer diluted to one-quarter of the recommended concentration. For a simple yet eye-catching table arrangement, cut off the tops of gerbera daisies and drop them into a crystal or glass bowl half filled with water.
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https://www.sbsun.com/2022/01/15/why-rainfall-even-more-than-regular-watering-is-essential-to-your-garden/ Why rainfall, even more than regular watering, is necessary for your garden – San Bernardino Sun