Fertilizer stakes & flood irrigation

Spring means everything is blooming.  In Arizona, it seems that spring and summer come earlier for us – and summer lingers around much longer.   Our 1952 brick home is my second house (I bought a townhome when I was 23) but it was my first home with a front and backyard that an HOA wasn’t responsible for maintaining.  And remember, I once told a guy at Home Depot’s gardening department that I shouldn’t be allowed to buy plants because I kill them.  You should have seen the look on his face.  I’m sure he would have chased me out of the store if he could have.

But, the house is quickly teaching me how to love green and after popping a few allergy pills, I’m good to go.  After the painting the citrus tree trunks task, I decided to fertilize the trees we have too.

I picked this pack of fertilizer spikes at Home Depot for about $10.  They are basically spikes filled with nutrition that your trees need – there are different packages for different types of plants, some include shrubs and trees.  They recommend doing them every 6 months, but I’m pretty sure Mr. Wonderful and I will just be doing it every spring, but next year, we’ll probably do it earlier before the fruit trees blossom like in February.

To refresh your memory we have:

  • 2 mature grapefruit (we live on a former citrus grove)
  • 1 asian pear
  • 1 atrium
  • 1  lemon
  • 1 kumquat

We used 4 stakes for the mature grapefruit trees, 2 each for the crab and atrium trees since they are against a wall, and 1 for the little guys.  We might replace the little dwarf orange, or even move him to a pot, we’ll see.

Mr. Wonderful and I also planted 3 foxtail ferns in the front of our house by the entrance door (love ferns, right Benny Boo Boo Boo?) with our new shrubs we planted a few months ago.  All this planting has been fun as we add years to our marriage and can look back and these plants to remind us that we planted all of this during our first year together.

The fertilizing stakes were a good idea for us to do the day before flood irrigation began.  We watered the ground before using a wooden stake from Ace Hardware to hammer into the soil first to make it easier to hammer the fertilization stakes in so they wouldn’t break.  And by we, I mean Mr. Wonderful did it.  I watered the ground.

If you don’t know what flood irrigation is, it’s basically a way some properties receive water for their lawn.  So instead of having a sprinkler system set up, some areas who still choose to use the flood irrigation system through one of  the major utilities, it’s on a schedule for water delivery.  There are pipes set up underground that come from the canal system and so they need to be opened on a schedule to receive this water, and each neighborhood is on its own schedule.  We get this every 2 weeks in the summer/spring months, and winter is once a month, and a guy who is independent from the utility company (we pay him) comes and opens up the irrigation and then closes it when it’s over.  In the city of Phoenix this tends to be for the older homes, newer construction homes don’t have this.

Plants get a good deep watering this way, our cost for flood irrigation is less than $100 per year.

It looks like this:

Our household water bill that doesn’t include flood irrigation is about $30 per month so we love this option.  If we put in a sprinkler system (which we might do later if we expand the house and take away some of our green yard), then our water bill would go up with how often we’d need to water.  So the use of flood irrigation is optional, but it works for since we don’t have any pets or children who need access to the lawn.  During the winter seeding we make sure the irrigation doesn’t go if we’ve just planted the seeds so they aren’t washed away.  Then we use temporary hose/sprinkler system for the little seeds until they finally appear.  Then once they seem healthy, we water them every so often between flood irrigation.  And by we, I mean our gardener.

Diana Elizabeth thinks maybe it’d be fun to buy Mr. Wonderful a little wireless motorboat to play with during irrigation.  He’s never too old for this stuff, right?

Diana Elizabeth is an author, photographer, and obsessive thrift shopper. You can typically find her in the garden wrist deep in dirt, at a local estate sale or planning her next epic party. She continues to blog weekly.



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