by Charlene Burgi
The reservoirs are full, the creeks are swollen, the ground is saturated and we have more storms coming our way. Some gardeners are beginning to show signs of cabin fever. This malady can be identified by the tattered condition of our garden catalog pages or the “favorites” on our computers overflowing with garden websites. Another indicator is the number of gardeners registered for the Bay-Friendly Edibles class this Saturday. However, due to the continuing storms, and at the risk of being tarred and feathered by the weary-of-the-rain gardeners, we postponed this outdoor event until April 30. (The good news is there is still time to register.) Even if the rains were to stop by Saturday, the soil would be too wet to work.
Too wet to work? If we dig into saturated soil, the air and moisture become displaced, creating a muddy mess that equates to ruined soil structure. That compaction makes it difficult for plants to grow and harms the microbial life that is essential to promote a healthy life cycle in the soil. Do not attempt to plant until the ground has dried out enough to be “crumbly,” not “chunky,” in your hand. If you push it, the only thing sprouting will be water wings. Once the soil dries out, add compost material to replace the nutrients that could have leached out during all the rain.
If you really need to get your hands dirty, here are a few ideas:
- Start spring seeds;
- Repot your orchids and houseplants;
- Build a worm bin for your kitchen scraps; or
- Build a cold frame for transitioning your seedlings to the outdoors.
Another idea is to attend the San Francisco Flower & Garden Show that started this past Wednesday at the San Mateo Event Center. This year’s theme is Symphony of the Soil. They are featuring some rather unique arrangements that you might want to catch.
Speaking of shows, we are preparing for our 5th Annual Eco-Friendly Garden Tour on May 14. We are currently looking for volunteers to work a half-day shift in one garden. You don’t need a Ph.D. in botany to apply. In fact, it is only a matter of making sure those attending show their signed liability form and ticket. It is a great opportunity to meet other gardeners and be stationed in a beautiful setting for four hours. The rest of the day is yours to freely visit other gardens on the tour with a friend. The volunteer will receive a free ticket and a t-shirt that was designed just for this event. Please contact Wendy at (415) 945-1521 if you are interested in joining us.