The Last Temptation (of a North Natomas Gardener)

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The sun is shining. The birds are singing. The rain is gone. Time to get out in ye olde Back 40 and git done what needs to be gittin' done!

Not so fast pardner.

No -- I didn't post up a photo of Neil Armstrong's last visit to the moon. That's my big footprint. It might as well be the moon though -- cause this is what happens when you step into the North Natomas mudscape that is my backyard after what seems centuries of non-stop rainfall.

But I want to start digging in the backyard!

The answer is "NO" from the Sacramento Bee's Debbie Arrington. The advice in her latest gardening column from Saturday? Ignore the urge to "dig in the dirt." You'll just compact the soil and make things worse.

But, but, but....I've got fruit trees to trim! I'm got bare root Southern Highbush Blueberries to plant! That Arctic Jay White Nectarine tree is ready to be planted! There's irrigation work to be done!

The answer is "NO" from Farmer Fred Hoffman. His advice is the same as Ms. Arrington's. You'll do nothing more than create a muddy mess -- compact the soil -- and that will cause even more problems later this spring when the drenched ground finally does dry out enough to walk on without falling through.

Now -- I thought I had this problem all but licked last summer when I raked out some five plus yards of bark around the raised planter beds in the backyard. Surely I could walk back there -- right?

Wrong!

Imagine my surprise this morning when all that nicely placed bark started sinking the moment I put my weight on it. There's nothing like the feeling of cold, slimy, clay mud oozing up between your toenails. The clay sludge that is my backyard is laughing at me. Five yards of bark is no match for the sticky mud that swallows all.

Even the best laid plans of a frustrated North Natomas gardener.

2 comments:

Bebedores do Gondufo said...

Good blog.

Bill Bird said...

Thank you sir! I appreciate the compliment!