John Finnell wrote:I live in the area, but up in Temecula, so it's drier than down there in San Marcos.
My Dad transplanted in a bunch of drought tolerant and "native" plants about a year and half ago. (Now I know about loosing the taproot by doing this, thanks to Paul)
He put a homogenous 2 inch thick layer of wood chips, and I it SUCKS! The plants are really not very happy this Summer, weed suppression is great, but at what cost? Some annual plants definitely poped-up through the mulch, and are very happy in Spring time. Thinking back everything looked pretty good in Spring, much cooler with rains.
There used to be a lawn for about 25 years, he killed it with Round-Up I wasn't a part of this plan. It amazes me how most people think these poisons are no big deal and "safe" to use.
The plants not doing so well, could be the round-up, could be the Summer heat, and not having a taproot. But I also think a big part is the compaction of the soil, and the wood chip mulch. The chips definitely created a matte, like Paul is saying in this video. It doesn't allow the soil to breathe at all. The water also doesn't want to drain properly, and the small amount of water in the Winter can not penetrate the chip layer!
Now in the Summer we are getting this problem where the plant is either too wet when watered from irrigation, and staying that way for too long, or it's way too dry. I think my Dad is over watering cause he doesn't understand the plant's natural water needs.
I went to the talk last night and what Paul is saying about planting a diverse amount of seeds and making texture in the landscape is a great idea for here. I planted a bunch of random seeds in between our little back yard orchard, and a lot of flowers and plants popped up throughout Spring and Summer. I did irrigated in the beginning because I was late in the season and being impatient.
What I've learned: have more patience, make texture in the landscape for microclimate, broadly seed out diverse plants in the Fall, for Winter rains. And use rough texture chunky messy mulch, not a chipper. Makes so much sense to me for this climate.
hannah ransom wrote:I live in San Diego.
quick google search gives me Missoula MT at 17 point something average rainfall, san diego at 10 point something.... definitely not more rain here. Also, MT has snow.
Paul Wheaton, you're awesome, but San Diego is a completely different ballgame than MT. You absolutely 100% need to have rainwater catchment. I was cringing when you were speaking against it in favor of non-labor intensive water catches. You get all of your rain in the winter, which we can grow things at that time because it is mild here, but in the summer when it is blazing 90-100 something degree days and the soil would have a hard time staying wet in the first place we have NOTHING. This year everything was dried up in late April where I live. Water input is needed no matter how much hugeling, swaling, and mulching you do. I have made hugel beds as the berms of my swales that have dried right up.
Is zero irrigation/rainwater catchment a possibility? Sure, but expect low yields, less intensive spacing of plants (you will need a lot more land to do anything), etc.