A day, no, week, no, month without rain

Last year, we had a very dry winter here in Northern California. Last rain in February. This year started off all right with a good 3-day storm around October 18. But really not much since. We had a very gentle rain 2 weeks ago, but it really did not penetrate. That became very obvious when I tried to put in some plants under the redwoods.

So, what does a native plant gardener do? This question came up at the Gardening with Natives Yahoo Group. And the answer? Follow the rules.
  • Water new plants once a week in the first year. I've decided to save water by hand watering, either holding the hose over the new plant or using a watering can.
  • Water 1 year old plants every two weeks.
  • Water 2 year old plants every three weeks.
After that, the plants are on their own. The rules can be amended a bit if the plants are in the shade, where they usually keep moist a bit longer. If a plant does not look happy, I always check with my moisture meter whether it's drowning or dying of thirst. Very often, it's actually drowning.
Still, the rules apply. This is the time for native plants to be growing, so they really expect some water. Furthermore, plants new from the nursery expect to be watered once a day or so, so depending on rain won't work, at least initially.
Now I'm just hoping we'll finally get some of that water from above so I can water less and blog more...