This heat! What a year! We were seeing 90 degrees at the beginning of May, and while there have been a few mild weeks or days, the last three and a half months have been brutal in their heat and aridity. Oh, for last year's rains! It seemed then that every time we really needed rain, it came. This year, predictions of some fair percentage chance of rain, or even more welcome thunderstorms, just tease us with so-very-rarely realized promises. Much of what I planted last fall and this spring has succumbed, especially the plants at a distance from the house, that I had no time to water. A season for the survival of the very fittest.
"Xeriscape," my mind's ear can hear friend Richard Satnick say, with no sympathy for foolish choices of resource-hungry plants. But we here in the east are used to abundant water and are shocked when wells go dry. I'm just planting things I grew up with ... and a few more plants that needed this milder climate, but those are also more drought-tolerant.
Yet it's very clear, we're all going to have to be more conscientious about conserving water. Drip irrigation is a familiar idea, such a good practice, delivering small steady amounts of water just to the plants that need it. But if you're not ready to start laying tubing throughout your garden, setting emitters just so, I have a terrific alternative.
EvoOrganic makes a "Weed-Free Garden Watering Blanket" with built-in drip irrigation. It's 8' by 10', with irrigation lines spaced a foot apart, and planting guidelines drawn in-between. There's a header hose ready to connect to your standard garden hose, and a dozen stakes to anchor the blanket to the ground. And about that blanket: it's two layers of weed-block fabric, with the watering system in-between. Guaranteed to last 3 seasons if you don't cover it with mulch, and may last a decade and more if you do. How great is that?
I didn't get this product installed myself this spring, rather too much parent-care to finish my garden projects, but I'll be using it when I do plant again. This puts in one easy installation just the kind of system I rigged for myself when I planted my first strawberry beds here. I prepared the soil, made mounded rows, laid sprinkler hose and anchored it in place, covered the whole bed with lightweight landscape fabric, then put a top layer of red plastic landscape cloth, and finally cut an X for each little plant and put it in, spreading the roots over the mound. Worked great and the beds lasted 3 years. But that sprinkler hose can have a mind of its own when you bend and shape it, and it wasn't a perfect fit, bed to bed. I love this new version, ready to go in one piece, and using water only for exactly the shape of your planting bed.
Guests and visitors can buy the product in Heaven Scent's lobby gift shop, at $45 plus 5% tax. Email me for shipping costs. (MSRP is $59.95.) BTW, you can link one blanket to another, for a larger garden, or I can get you the same product in any configuration you need, as it's also sold by the foot, in narrower widths.