Saturday, January 16, 2010

Will the Governator and His Delta Plans Ruin My Chances of Having a Garden?

Today I feel much better! I didn’t take Tylenol last night (breaking the headache at night, take a Tylenol, wake up sick, cycle) and this morning the “morning sickness” had completely vanished.

I’m starting to think about planning this year’s garden and I’m determined to find a happy medium. I’ve had a vegetable garden for three of the last four years.

In 2006 I struggled to break up the hard packed dirt and then plant and fertilize two small, heavily fenced plots (we have some very aggressive plant eating deer here, who just aren’t satisfied with the huge area of pasture grass my parents planted for them).

In 2007 I went a bit overboard. I started early and planted all the seeds I could in my grandparents’ abandoned green house in January. And with the years of compost in the green house those little seeds flourished. I transplanted the 90+ tomato plants, along with the bell peppers, Anaheim peppers and eggplants and then added carrots and radishes, pumpkins, gourds, watermelon, cantaloupe, zucchini and cucumbers to the mix when the freezing weather passed. The garden was enormous (I’d bought 300 feet of deer fencing) and produced enough to keep our house and the local soup kitchen supplied. However it was a full time job. (Today’s pictures are from 2007.)

In 2008 I knew my limits. I was enormously pregnant (with a 9lb+ baby) and I barley waddled outside often enough to keep my herb garden alive.

This past year, 2009, my dad built a raised garden in our yard (we’re the only ones with a deer fence) and mom took care of it. I helped a little bit, but for the most part she did all of the work. Sadie especially enjoyed stealing pumpkins from Nani.

I would like to have a small garden this year. I’m event tempted to clean out the green house (which would be a huge project, because we have these annoying trees called “Trees of Heaven” that are classified as noxious weeds in our county and they sprout everywhere, including in the green house… it would take a lot of muscle to reclaim the space).

Unfortunately there are other drawbacks. With over 50% of our water going to Southern California to fill their sparkling blue swimming pools (it’s amazing how you would need to go through a half dozen agencies to put in a pond here, but you can put in a pool there with a permit, despite the drought) we aren’t left with much (I bet the farms would get more water if the the swimming pools and golf courses got less!). Our well goes dry every single year, pumping silt and mud into the house (not pleasant if you’re the one in the shower when it happens and it happens frequently). The lakes are nearly dry despite the rain and they keep sending more water south in the canal.

Worse, the Governator is now campaigning to pass a “Save the Delta” plan that would take nearly all the remaining water from the local watersheds to rehabilitate the Delta. The funny thing is, that they’re very concerned about the well being of the Smelt, a two-inch long fish that lives in the Delta. But I wonder what will happen to the salmon and trout in the Trinity and Sacramento Rivers with further reductions (I’ve heard 90% of the water would be headed south instead of the paltry 50% they already take). The economies in many of the counties in our area depend heavily on fishing tourism and will be destroyed if the water and fish are gone.

I don't understand much of the logic behind environmentalist politics. Save on portion of the state by sacrificing another. Save one tiny fish by sacrificing entire eco-systems.

And of course any garden will be out of the question if water becomes that scarce.

I guess I’ll start planning and planting and hope it keeps raining. If my garden survives, it survives. No thanks to the California water politics (wow, I didn’t even know this was going to be a “Save the Delta” rant when I started!).


  1. I totally agree. I live in the desert (literally) but my neighborhood is full of grass and non-native plants which is totally harming the eco-system and causing people to develop allergies. Plus we use reclaimed water to water the grass. I really don't see the point. I would love to try and convince my fellow homeowners to get rid of the grass, but I know that people move here because they had grass back home and now they want it here.

    I moved to the desert to avoid cutting the grass and shoveling snow. I think the native vegitation is great. Why destroy it? Plus we don't have a water source nearby. We're taking it from the Colorado river.

    The local U which is supposed to be the most liberal place on earth since it is an institution of higher learning isn't much better. They have non-native trees and grass too. But they are slowly getting better. They encourage students to commute, bike, or walk and most recently they are working to install solar power on some of the buildings roof tops (since everything is air conditioned in this desert area).

    Sorry for ranting. I live close enough to California to know that California is natorious for not using their head when it comes to the environment. I hope that the bill doesn't pass.'

    (Geez, still can't spell worth anything)

  2. I understand you, a garden and working in it is just incredibly calming and useful.

  3. I am all for the environment, but when it costs people their jobs and keeps people like you and others from receiving much needed water for your garden or whatever other purpose than this environmental whacko insanity must stop.

    Good Luck with your garden!!

  4. Not to worry. When the agro-corporate world gets its hands on the soon to be legalized marijuana & hemp production, then water distribution will take on a whole different angle.

    Re: Tree of Heaven. Do they have a nasty smell to them when you rub the leaves or cut into a stem? If so, then I'm sure I know what you are talking about. Also known as ailanthus. Not good for ANYTHING! Cut them to within a few inches of the ground & apply stumpkiller. They are notorious for propagating via root systems. If you have any that are large enough to be trees, then do not climb in them. The branches break easily and are dangerous for climbing. I know!


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