Happy New Year 2016

My husband Geoff and I after 30 great years of marriage!

My husband Geoff and I after 30 great years of marriage!

Dear Friends,

Thank you for allowing me to provide support for your gardening pleasure this last year. It was fun working for you and or being Your Garden Companion. The additional precipitation this winter and snowfall will be especially helpful to our desert plants as they reseed this winter and from available irrigation water this coming summer as the snow melts.

While we may be getting additional water this year, we must remember we live in the High Desert Ecosystem which averages 10 to 12 inches of rain per year, depending upon your location and elevation.

Last year the Central Oregon Irrigation District, COID, turned off the water that feeds the canals approximately seven days earlier than normal in 2015 due to the drought.  For current information on spotted frogs, water conservation and farm efficiency see their January Newsletter at right.   My philosophy is to work with all of nature.  To be truly sustainable we need the frogs and salmon just as much as we need food from the farms in Central Oregon.  Each “player” in the ecosystem has a service and role that is important to the whole, which is another topic.

To conserve water in the landscape we should be mindful of how we plan our gardens. This winter is a good time to plan for the coming year.  You may want to ask yourself:

  • What parts or my yard can be converted to a low volume irrigation system?
  • Are there any downspouts near planting beds that could be directed to plants needing extra rainwater?
  •  Do I add enough mulch, up to 3 inches, to help retain soil moisture in the summer?
  • Could I install a rain barrel to collect water for future dry periods?
  • Does my landscape rely mostly on water-loving plants or those adapted to dry desert conditions?
  • Do my sprinkler heads need adjusting to prevent sprays onto the driveway or sidewalk?

Every little bit helps. By working with nature, we are learning to live in this desert we call home.
My recent efforts have been to plant wildflower seeds to capture this moisture in hopes of more successful seed germination. I still have a few seeds left, so give me a call if you want to plant a patch for the pollinators.

I will start working on my summer schedule in March so if you want to garden together this summer let me know this spring.

Yvonne Babb

Also, check out my January Posts:
Roots to Cellar and this link on pesticide updates

Bee Aware…EPA Risk Assessment on Neonicotinoids and honeybees