During the financial crisis, most of which I still don’t understand completely because I don’t think we got the whole story, the banks didn’t have enough cash to pay all those loans they had out if all the loans went bad. That’s an abbreviated version of the crisis, but let’s just go with that for now. Think about it. If a bank has $10.00 in its account and its outstanding loans are $15.00, what would happen if $5.00 of those loans went bad? The bank would have to eat $5.00 in loans. Hah! But, what if the bank only had $2.00 of income coming in and $5.00 more of loans went bad? Now, for all you mathematicians and for all of you with a mathematical bent…

Let me think. I have $10.00 in the bank. I paid out $5.00 in bad loans, which left me with a balance of $5.00, but, crud, I had another $5.00 of loans go bad. Now I have no money in the bank, but that’s okay I had $2.00 come in. So I’m cool. I have $2.00 in my bank, and only $5.00 in outstanding loans to cover. So, as long as nothing else happens, I’m good. But if half of the outstanding loans went bad against my $2.00 account, then I’m .50 in the hole and screwed.

“Scott, what’s this have to do with a High-Hand Nursery email? Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” Well, I have an answer for that. Let me explain it the best I can so stop for a minute, go get a glass of wine or a glass of water and when you come back, try to follow my thinking. Let me say this about my thinking. I would like to think my brain is a genius. Wouldn’t we all? But, it’s not. So, sometimes when I speak I can be a bit confusing because my brain runs ahead of my mouth. But, when you come back reread my math problem above, and get that segment reinstalled into your brain. All right. I will wait.

Jeopardy theme music playing over and over again.

Here we go. Winter has given you a water bank. The water bank is the amount of water stored in the ground after Winter has deposited it in your water bank account. Call it the water table if that helps. As Spring gives way to Summer, the water bank (water table) naturally goes down through evaporation and/or tree roots that can draw water out of the account.

So, what happens if you do not make water deposits into your account? You will deplete your account of water and there will be no more evaporation and no more tree. However, we have an irrigation system that has been depositing water back into the ground or around the tree. Are you ready for some heavy numbers again?

In my mind right now I’m thinking that this email is getting a bit heavy and complicated, but I’m going to forge forward. As Winter ends and Spring begins, we must start watering. At first, we start off conservatively. Once a week, every third day, every other day. This progression usually happens with a rise in temperature. Here’s where everybody usually screws up. We have a tendency not start to depositing water into our water banks soon enough.

As evaporation in early Spring starts taking water from our bank and the trees start making their withdrawals, the water bank goes down. We generally wait until the last minute to start applying water. Here come the numbers.

My water bank has 10 gallons of water. Evaporation and my tree are taking 1 gallon per day. After five days I decide to turn on the water, depositing 1 gallon per day. At this point I am running a deficit of five gallons of water. As the heat increases, evaporation and my tree are removing 3 gallons per day. Yet, I think that a gallon a day is plenty of water for my tree. So, is it safe to say I’m about to run out of water in my water bank? It’s really not about how much time you have on your timer. One hour is one gallon of water on your timer. Fifteen minutes is a quart of water. Do you remember the old oil cans in the gas stations in the ’70’s? I do, even though I was a kid. That’s a quart.

Let me sum it up like this. So, do you see how the banking crisis and watering your yard are one and the same? This is a very long way of getting to a couple of simple sentences. I don’t water plants. I water the evaporation rates. As long as I keep my water table in my yard at a certain level the plants can withdraw from it. So, as it evaporates, I simply replenish that portion of water. By starting early in the year and not later, you will not fall into a water deficit which will lead to a financial deficit if the tree dies.

How to measure evaporation rates in your soil? Way over my pay grade. We would have to bring in a lysineter to measure. Thank Google for that.

Here’s what I know.

Clay based soils hold water like a sponge. They’re more dense, thus more evaporation.

Sandy or rocky soils evaporate rather fast. Not only does water fall away faster, but there is more air in these soils, thus more evaporation.

Loamy soils that have compost and organic matter retain water much longer and because there is space for air, they release water more evenly.

Our friends at Kellogg’s (yes, that’s a plug for you, Kellogg’s), have mastered water retention with their great compost and soil additives that, yes, we sell at High Hand Nursery.

There you have it. You might have to reread it more than once. How much do you water your yard? It’s a tough question to answer. Soil conditions, exposure to the elements, plant choices and the basic personality of your yard all dictate different needs. Once you’ve figured that out, it’s really a snap.

I’ll sum it up in one sentence. Start watering early and don’t fall behind in your water bank.

Here’s what going on at High-Hand these days:

June 3rd, Saturday from 10 to 2 pm, twenty artists will converge on High-Hand Nursery. “Into Thin Air” — watch masterpieces unfold in front of your eyes as talented painters create right in front of you. It will be fun. Dare to do something different and come in and watch. I dare you.

June 24th — Mike and Molly at Maple Rock. We are planning a Farm to Fork meal at Maple Rock Gardens brought to you by Mike & Molly of Hawks Restaurant in Granite Bay and High-Hand Nursery & Cafe. I would like to tell you more, but we are wrapping up the menu as we speak. It will be a beautiful evening at Maple Rock. Live music, appetizers, a three course meal, dessert and beer and wine are included. The cost is $295.00 per couple, plus tax. It will be a time to remember beneath the beautiful sky and beautiful view. To reserve your seats, call High-Hand Cafe (916) 652-2064, Extension 2.

September 9th — join us at Maple Rock for Train Day. Live steam engines, BBQ and live music. Come see the trains and steam engines presented by Sacramento Valley Railroad Society. Tickets are $10 and parking is free. Click here to purchase your tickets.

FYI: We are also trying to win the Best of the Best contest. So, if you feel compelled click here to learn more about how to vote. You’ll find links at the bottom of our page for the categories we’ve been nominated for. Vote for High-Hand Nursery and vote for High-Hand Cafe. We will love you for it.

Keep an eye out on our website as we are planning small pop up events at Maple Rock over the coming weeks and months. These small, intimate events will be something you will not want to miss.

We are currently in the process of dreaming and massaging all the possibilities so stay tuned.

Happy water banking.

See you at High-Hand Nursery.


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