Last Thursday night I attended one of the free Lawn and Garden workshops being offered this year by Pasadena Water & Power. I began with the Efficient Irrigation workshop. If we're going to have to ration water, then dammit, I'm going to be water-wise.
I was afraid I might get bored, but irrigation contractor and horticulturalist Tim Wheeler is anything but dull. With charm, humor, and visual aids like charts, nozzles and hoses, he turned dirt and water into three hours of fascination. Everybody likes water, but who knew dirt could be so cool?
I learned why I should never water at night. (It contributes to plant diseases.)
I learned why it's better to use a machine to aerate your soil than it is to use the little shoes with spikes on them, and why it's a good idea to mark your sprinkler pipes and nozzles clearly before you accidentally aerate them, too.
I learned about MP rotators, timers and the new "smart" controllers that can make watering decisions for you based on the weather.
My favorite was learning about different kinds of dirt. I might have sandy loam, but I've never been sure. Now I know how to test it. What I'm feeling about dirt right now could be called excitement.
I'm going to the California Friendly Landscaping Class next. By then I ought to know what kind of soil I've got. Maybe this will be the year I don't kill every other thing I plant.