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It may not be cooler yet, but dry season is here

By Staff | Oct 26, 2012

The days may not seem all that cool just yet but the dry season is definitely here. I have already noticed potted plants becoming dry and needing to have more watering from me.

Mother Nature is off on holiday for a few months. The important things to remember about this season is you will not be able to depend on regular rainfalls nor any measurable amounts of rainfall when they do come our way.

It is a good idea to watch the weather patterns for the next month because we could still have a large storm come churning by and drop a large amount of rain.

The end of November is the usual natural cut-off of large storms. Long-time Southwest Florida residents will tell you that occasionally we have a year when that cut-off time just does not happen when we think it will.

A disturbance along the east coast of Florida may send us some windy rain, or not. Rain barrel people will have that water supply to aid them in the more constant watering. I use that water for the orchids. Everything else is by the sprinkler system or my own water recycling mode that I have already started in the kitchen sink.

I boil eggs a lot and I no longer salt that water because I re-use it out on the lanai for a bunch of planters there and in the courtyard. I have not had anyone tell me that the boiled water is not a nutrient dense application to my plants and they do not complain. They like wet.

There are several ways from inside the home that we can obtain extra water for outside use. There are two kinds from inside. Grey water, in my opinion, is the water left from cooking pasta, rinsing out canned foods and rinsing out the large glass cup I microwave my oatmeal in every morning. Please remember, I am not recommending you should use grey oatmeal water for your plants.I would however recommend you use a glass container for cooking it in the microwave. Gray oatmeal water is not the next trend in plant care. Yet.

To save me from running around the lanai too often with a pan or cup of water, I keep an old soup pot with side handles, in one side of the sink and fill it until it is mostly full and then take it around outside. I have an old plastic measuring cup there also because I have some small plants that are not happy with a big dose of any kind of water thrown on them.

Also, I am not happy cleaning up all the wet dirt that splashes all over the place when I forget and do a slam dunk watering.

I have heard over and over from speakers and even one regular person that the bathroom is a good place to obtain water for outside use. A container setting in the walk-in shower or the old bathtub will easily catch the wasted water that we run until it is nice and comfy for us to bath. I have not done that. It’s water too heavy for me to carry from where I could use it.

I really do not think if I were saving it and depending on my teen grandson, Buddy, to come and get it that he would be adaptable to that particular chore. He suffers bloody knuckles and a scratch or two helping with projects outside, but I do not even want to hear what he would say about being a water boy.

Seriously though, it is time to remember to watch our water use, inside and out.

Check sprinklers to make sure they are working the way they should and you are on the right time schedule for you.

Keep an eye on local news so you will know if there is a sudden change in the amount and timing of your automatic sprinklers. It’s not necessary to be watering the driveway and the public roadway.

Lawn care is important right now. Check with the Lee County Extension, in Fort Myers, they love to give out good information on lots of things. Just a phone call away, at 533-7504.

Our restricted fertilizer season ended Sept. 30, however, be aware of the 10-foot buffer zone for O fertilizer near any water body. This means from the top of your seawall and the canals, lakes and ponds.

To review Ordinance No. 86-10, contact Cape Coral Environmental Resources at 239-574-0785.

Looking for things to plant? Plants and trees and bushes are everywhere now, just read the labels. Sun plants should be OK to really be in the sun now that it is not the torrid sun season anymore. They do all need to be watered in. More about those things next time.

The whole area was going “pink” recently with runs, walks and many other events. One huge walk started at 7 a.m. and walkers did their thing in pink bows, boas and bras. Men and women supporting these bejeweled pieces to raise money for cancer awareness, remembrance, research and screening.

Pink bras sounded fun and certainly made a statement, however I decided to just stick to buying a beautiful new poinsettia called “LUV U PINK.” Three layers of pink color top off tall green stems. Beautiful plant. May not be available now. I want you to remember, keep your eyes open for new and beautiful things.

Happy gardening till we meet again.

H.I. Jean Shields is a past president of the Garden Club of Cape Coral.