Dealing with a Drought in Your Garden


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When is the last time you had rain? Parts of the country are experiencing flooding, and in Houston, we are dealing with higher than normal temperatures coupled with no rain.

My last water bill was quite high. My goal is to reduce my water consumption, so I was not too happy with my behavior that led to this unwanted expense. In my mind, I was justifying my actions with the fact that food prices are rising, and I am growing vegetables to counter those prices (a note in the grocery store today pointed out that many crops have been damaged by the weather, so prices will fluctuate). I was also thinking of my foundation. Keeping the ground at a consistent moisture level will help the house. However, this bill brought my focus back to my goal. Yes, I could justify my actions, but I could not really. I, like all of my neighbors, will have to make choices to deal with the drought.
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The Drought and My Houston Garden


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Waiting for rain that never seems to come, I am looking for ways to reduce my watering. What strategies may we use.

There have been days with a mist of water on the ground on a few mornings. Is that why, they say that Houston is not in the extreme drought that the surrounding areas are already in? My latest project is creating spots to hold  water from the rain. Swales to catch water that is running off the property, but which are far from creating pools by the foundation. I had a large plastic pot from a tree that I overturned and placed into a hole to deal with one spot that has a water pool when it rains. I am thinking of adding more of these water basins. Finally I have more trenches to catch the water flow before it leaves my property. (I wonder if I can convince the city that this should reduce my drainage fee- wild hopes continue).
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For Joy, It is Raining


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Are you planting seeds? Then you need to keep the ground moist, but this weather has not co-operated. I guess that we are gong back into drought conditions again. Fortunately, the rain has come, so I did not need to water.

I had a problem with squirrels around my home. They disrupted my seed trays, so I decided to plant directly into the ground with most plants. I like to mix up how I get my plants. Some I start in pots; some seeds go into the beds; and some plants I buy from the nursery. Unfortunately, the squirrels have been a bit more active this year, so I see signs of their digging in the garden beds, and I am not sure why they went after my seed trays. Still, the seedlings are growing, but it has meant more watering than I was expecting. Having the seed beds in trays under cover or in a green house means less watering, because the soil does not dry out. When the seeds are in the garden bed, you have the sun and wind drying out the soil, so more watering to keep the seeds viable. I am spreading hair from my dog around the garden, but this has not worked as well as I had hoped.
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How to Inspect Your Lawn Sprinkler System


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Every so often, it is not a bad idea, to see if your lawn sprinklers are working as intended. A quick inspection can save you money, and help your plants.



I think that most lawn sprinkler systems that I have inspected where originally installed by the builder. I find few homes where the homeowner may have installed a sprinkler system. Installation is a fairly simple task, and a well maintained, thought out system may be better at watering than you can with a hose. I prefer watering with a hose though. My wife did not understand how relaxing it can be until she decided to water the plants once. However,  I feel that most homeowners do not want that form of meditation, and a sprinkler system may help them maintain their gardens.
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Greetings

This site came out of my desire to write about my love of gardening, but also to connect it to my knowledge derived from home inspections. That is why I tied it to the home inspection site.If you have questions, you can email them to me (frank at yourhoustonhomeinspector.com). For home inspections, call 713.781.6090.
Happy gardening, Frank

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