Last night we had the first really good soaking rain that we've had in a long time--a few months at least. Walking around the back yard this morning, I couldn't help but notice how perky everything looked. Even the end-of-season, on-its-last-gasp stuff like the tomatoes and the pumpkin vine seemed to have a bit of renewed vigor and it brought me to a sudden and what should have been obvious conclusion: I haven't been watering deeply enough.
My routine this summer has been to hand-water with the hose twice a week, with occasional extra spot watering with a watering can when the weather got really hot or something looked particularly parched. I think that schedule is OK, but I realize now that it probably would have been better if I'd used a sprinkler on the hose and let it run in each bed for about five minutes. While the sprinkler ran, I could have been doing odds and ends of other tasks (pruning and weeding, for example) instead of just standing there like a moron holding the hose. I thought that by hand watering I was able to give more customized care to each plant or bed. But I think I was kidding myself. And I'm even wondering if the less than spectacular results that I've had this year with blooming and fruiting, which I've been blaming on soil problems or pest problems, may actually have been at least partially due to inadequate watering.
It's too late to test this theory this year. We've got another storm coming in at the end of the week and possibly a third due early next week. And the rainy season typically kicks in around November here (although is weather ever "typical" anymore?). But I'm noting this for next year. And one of these summers maybe I'll actually get my act together and install some kind of drip irrigation system in the back yard. I can dream, can't I?