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Archive for the ‘Air’ Category

I’ve been remiss.  Sorry about that!  Sometimes life interferes with life.  That’s a silly statement, but occasionally so very true!

I’ve had a few thoughts about this blog entry, but then have not carried through on any of them.  One of the things standing in the way of my getting a new entry done is that my husband has been a bit “under the weather” lately.  Then we had company from the East Coast.  It was family, so we revelled in their presence!IMG_8521

One of my husbands complaints is that his mouth is so dry.  I tried all the usual techniques for getting some moisture into the air in our apartment.  Boiled some water; didn’t use the fan to get rid of the moisture in the bathroom after a shower; a good one is to open the dishwasher as it finishes to allow all that hot moist steam to flood the kitchen; be sure the window was open (at least a little bit) at night to pull in some moisture from our damp Seattle atmosphere; I think perhaps drying socks on the shower rack would also add some humidity without taking up a huge amount of space!

But, there HAVE to be other techniques that wouldn’t require the purchase of a humidifier, which I would like to avoid. (Of course, I also set a big glass of cold water in front of him, and suggest he drink that as an instant cure!)

A year or so ago I got a humidity gauge as a gift from one of my sons.  It has been a good thing to keep an eye on.  And yes, in the mornings this apartment IS dry. So what else to do?IMG_8519

I’m sure you all know where I’m going with this…PLANTS!  They are GREAT humidifiers! They “transpire”.  What that means is that they take water from the soil, into their roots, send it up to the leaves, and out it goes into the atmosphere again. Here’s one article about that. Increasing Humidity in Buildings

Let’s look at a few other interesting articles about humidifying our indoor environment..

Here are a few good idea’s from, of all places, Angie’s List!

It is also said that stove top cooking is a good idea!IMG_8522

And of course, more about the use of PLANTS!

 

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From the time we are just wee, little ones learning a catchy rhyme, “Rain, rain, go away.  Come again another day!” Until the present time when we stand aghast to read the news about yet another terrible rain event in the form of one or more hurricanes.

Rain is one of those things that we hate one minute but know the next, that we can’t exist without.IMG_0371

The most important element that we need to support life (any kind of life) is WATER!  It comes to us in the form of rain.  Rain fills the oceans and pushes the brooks into the streams, which form the rivers, etc.  So, we cannot do without rain!

 

Some climates have to live with little, or no rain, as in deserts.  Other places like rainforests, have to figure out how to handle the deluges.  As I recall the cliché is “feast or famine”!  Here in the Pacific Northwest, we are usually in the “feast” category…but not always.  This is where our skill, as gardeners and farmers, comes into play!

Our gardens have to handle both an excess of water, or in the dryest season of summer hold onto the little we get.  In other words, sometimes we need to deal with drought, just as we need to deal with the occasional flood.  Generally in the PNW,img_5618 the rain is frequent, but light. It keeps us constantly damp it seems, but doesn’t rain enough to get down to the deep roots where it’s necessary in order to be of any use to the plant above.  So, what are we to do?

As gardeners (I’ll include farmers in that all encompassing word) we all know that along with water, the most important ingredient is the SOIL!  Just like water, soil comes in different forms as well.  In a desert, it’s sand.  In a rainforest, it is almost pure compost. If it rains in the desert, the water is gone almost as soon as it hits the ground, because sand does NOT hold water and the dampness is burned off by the sun.  In the rainforest, the water is enclosed in the rich, deep compost, held in the shade, and available for whatever time is necessary!

What do we learn from this?  In a desert, there are no plants dropping leaves, or falling onto the ground to rot…so there is no compost forming naturally.  In the rainforest, there are trees and plants galore, which shed leaves, break off branches, and support animals that leave their detritus.  All of this falls to the ground, rots and becomes compost.  Now, if we could just get the two together!!!!

THAT is where the gardener begins to display his or her skills, and brains! compost-hand

Essentially, there are three things you need in order to create good soil for your garden. The growing material itself (which we call the soil); water; and air.  We aspire to “perfect” this combination in order to grow our crop, be it vegetables or flowering plants.

BUT, the bottom line is that we need to take the RAIN and hold onto it long enough, and deep enough, for the plants to utilize it.  If a plant is watered and just the top of the soil is dampened, the roots have no way of getting to it.  That is an unhealthy situation.  The roots will aim upward to get to the water, leaving them vulnerable to the next burst of heat, which will dry those roots out, and eventually kill the plant.  Water deeply!  THAT is the weak spot in our rainy climate.  We think because it’s always raining, we shouldn’t need to water, but that is NOT necessarily the case.

We need to figure out how to adjust the soil in order to hold and convey the water down to the roots of the plants.  This is done by combining our soil with compost.  That compost also loosens the soil, allowing space for air to be incorporporated.  A good equation!

In Israel, they have turned the desert into farms.  Go to this site and read how they created this miracle.  But, certainly this is not what we have to do in our PNW gardens, is it?

The Spruce has a wonderful article about building soil to hold water.  It would be worth a visit.

Here’s a link from the University of Maine, Extension Service telling everything you’d possibly need to know about soil,

Here’s to Happy Gardening…and perfect rainfall!

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