2015 - Summer
Summer started with a three week heatwave that finally ended on July 5th. A heatwave no one ever recalled seeing before, high temps were hovering around 100 and the lows were generally not really that cool at all, the 70's. The 4th of July was hot during the day then just before the fireworks show, a thunderstorm joined in with lightning and thunder, gusty east winds and pounding rain. That rain continued in to the morning hours of the 5th and the high was only 77.

As this was written, yet another series of thunderstorms are putting on a show and dropping rain.

Oddly enough, many plants appear to be about a month early in their growth. For example, the glads are starting to bloom, the garlic is blooming, and the mint is about to flower out. Is a harsh winter coming early?

Low-water Landscaping

Water-wise landscaping uses common sense gardening practices. These seven steps can help you create a water-efficent landscape.
  1. Planning & Design: Whether you are starting from scratch or gradually changing your existing landscape, create a master plan. With a plan you can see where plants will be and where to preinstall water lines; where other landscaped items will be (such as a rock garden or pond, which would need a water and power source). Also, if you encounter a problem it is easy to take the plan to a landscape professional to refine your layout.
  2. Compost & Cultivate: Soil improvements may be needed for your plant locations so you will need to see which type of soil you have. For example, sand doesn't retain water but if you get a lot of rain every year, you will need to be careful on the type of soil ammendment used as too much will cause the plant's roots to rot. Whereas with clay soil, water is absorbed too slowly and the ground in the summer when dry will be as hard as concrete. Mixing compost in with clay soil will allow better water-absorption and provide your plants with much-needed nutrients.
  3. Functional Lawns: Many people love the look of a green lawn yet as any lawn owner knows, it takes a lot of work and a lot of water. Evaluate your lawn areas to ensure that they are practical and functional. If you would rather have a "fake" lawn instead of a real one, consider the cost of the real one when you compare pricing on the "fake" turf. Also, if in a drought, close-cut your lawn and let it die - A non-toxic paint is made to paint lawns so they look healthy green - The paint lasts until the Fall rains.
  4. Correct Plant in the Right Place: Steep slopes, sharp angles, or even slopes are best for ground cover plants or what is called "hardscape" (rocks or mulch over a thick landscape fabric.) Your yard will have several micro climates which affects how much water a plant should get. Such as moist shade should have plants that prefer that type of growing environment.
  5. Water Wise: Watering early in the morning (if not windy) is better for your plants as there is less evaporation than watering at high-noon. If you have a lawn, most of the time 1" of water per week is perfect yet if you have a hot spell, you will need to water more. Drip or Mist irrigation is perfect for plants as it gets the water directly to them.
  6. Mulch: There are two types of mulches, organic or inorganic. Organic includes aged manure, compost, bark or wood chips. Organic mulch can add nutrients in soil and help retain water., plus it helps with weed control and soil erosion. Inorganic includes rock and gravel - While it may make your landscape much more visually appealing, if you have plants planted in it, be aware that they will need more water because of the reflected heat.
  7. Landscaping Maintenance: Pruning, dead-heading flowers, pest control, fertilizer, irrigation coverage are all examples of the type of maintenance you may have to do to keep your yard looking the way you planned.
Every week or so, additional tips will be added right here. Enjoy your water-smart yard!

Meanwhile, the earthquakes in NW Nevada are continuing, as you can see below:

If you have been watching our Weather Station's page, we are trying to raise ten thousand dollars so that we may enhance our weather station. If you would like to help, either use the donation button (below) or consider buying an online ad block - Click on business services (in the menu above) if interested.

Weather Underground PWS KORLAKEV9

Pending Disaster?
An interesting thing to note is the number of web sites talking about sea level rise, some with goofy maps. Years ago, we included a website that you could manipulate based on whatever sea level rise the "experts" were predicting by the year 2100. For those folks who forget that 1 meter = 3.280839895 feet (to be exact), you too can figure out what your exact location will look like based on whatever meters you manipulate the graphic to. If you happen to already live there, might consider moving now.

Fire Danger
To remind folks, here are the fire sites to watch: active fires & fire warnings for the entire USA.

Need To Buy Something?
Buy products made in your country, not China. If you want to get your country back to work, you have to buy products made by your fellow citizens.

Reduce your monthly cooling bills by replacing your home's roof with white-colored material, use native plants for your landscaping instead of lawns, remove all Juniper plants (they swallow more water than you can imagine), and if you must have a green lawn (for children or pets) use an artificial material.

Go "green" by using more Metals, which may be reused easily while Plastics requires special types of equipment to process. Only buy products your area can recycle. Read labels, make a difference.

Make Your Voice Heard!
Debate topics with people around the world on our NewsForum. Now open and waiting for you participation. Join today!

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Last updated: July 6, 2015