7fb83fcc1c26c6e2170d9009fe3514c8

Fall and winter is a wonderful time to improve a landscape and garden.

There are many projects to consider; a new vegetable garden, a creative garden gate, some masonry work, building a compost bin or an entire re-landscaping.

Ron Vanderhoff

Why not go green by harvesting rainwater? Rainwater has many benefits over municipal water, especially when used in a garden. Most importantly, rainwater is chemical and salt- free. Plants respond much better to rainwater than they do irrigation water. In fact, by comparison, the results are often dramatic. Other benefits of rainwater collection include cost-savings and a reduction of storm water runoff, which carries pollutants into our coastal waters, damages property and degrades water quality.

Rainwater can be harvested and stored off your roof as is, by using your existing roof gutters and down spouts. The water can be collected in specially made containers called rain barrels. A series of rain barrels can even be connected together. However, when using standard 40 to 50 gallon rain barrels, you’ll soon discover how easy it is to collect the water, and you’ll probably want more capacity.

Fortunately, there are now well constructed water collection tanks that can store hundreds, even thousands of gallons of rainwater.

Although still unfamiliar to many local gardeners, these well crafted and attractive water harvesting tanks are readily available. The best models are sturdy, well built and offer attractive styling. Many can even sit flat against the wall of the house or garage and come in pleasing colors.

Bushman Tank

Water that is harvested from a rooftop and stored offers a very sensible alternative to government imposed and mandated water rationing ordinances. As these water restrictions become increasingly stringent and new ordinances are added, determined gardeners are turning to the free supply of water falling on their rooftops as a solution. Now, before the onset of winter rains, is the time to get started.  

The math is pretty simple. One half inch of rain on a 1,500 square foot roof will yield about 500 gallons of water – water for your garden. A rainwater tank located adjacent to a downspout makes this a pretty easy set-up. In fact, most homeowners can do the installation themselves, but contractors are also available for those who want a little help. I’ve been capturing roof rainwater at my own home for two years now and did the installation myself.

No algae, no mosquitoes and no evaporation. When it comes time to use the water, just hook up your garden hose to the spout near the bottom of the tank and start watering.

Rainwater harvesting is so effective at conserving water that many communities across the country are now offering rebates and incentives for their purchase and installation. Unfortunately, Orange County municipalities have not yet begun offering incentives for rainwater collection.  

If the current drought continues, or worsens, those gardeners that have planned ahead and collected their winter rainwater will have a distinct advantage; but the time to act is soon.

To learn more about rainwater harvesting ask for advice or a demonstration at your local independent nursery or garden center.  

Ron Vanderhoff is the Nursery Manager at Roger’s Gardens in Corona del Mar. 

Questions from Readers December 5th.

Question: My Purple Fountain Grass is enormous and needs to be cut back. When should I do this?

Ramiro
Newport Beach

Answer: Purple fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum) is very popular in local landscapes. A native of northern and subtropical portions of Africa, this is a warm season grass, meaning that it does most of its growing during the warm half of the year and rests during the cool months. Therefore, don’t cut back fountain grass now or it will be slow to recover and look shabby for months. Instead, wait until mid to late spring next year. Then, cut the entire clump to about six or eight inches high and within a few weeks it will look fabulous again, with all fresh foliage. This would also be a good time to divide any overgrown clumps.


Plant Care Reminders

Calendula officinalis Monthly Plant Care Reminders
Annuals Coastal Sage Gardening

Calendula officinalis (Pot Marigold, English Marigold) - Monthly Plant Care Reminders

You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!
Avocado Information Hub
Edibles Super User

Avocado - Growing and Plant Care Information Hub

We're bringing relevant information about Avocados (Persea americana) to one fantastic resource for the home gardener. Feel free to browse and search and learn. If you have any good information you'd like included contact us and let us know. Skip to the…

Victorian Rosemary (Westringia…

10459 Steve Brigham
Westringia fruticosa Monthly Plant Care
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!

Clivia miniata (Lily - Kaffir) -…

16889 Ron Vanderhoff
Clivia miniata Monthly Plant Care
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!

Magnolia grandiflora (Southern…

7392 Steve Brigham
Magnolia grandiflora Monthly Plant Care
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!

Gardening Articles

Peach Leaf Curl

Peach Leaf Curl - Information Hub

Peach leaf curl is a common problem found on leaves of Peaches and Nectarines (and their relatives). It rears it's ugly head on new growth in the spring and usually causes panic among home gardeners. It's a scary looking problem which shows itself as mutated,…
MP Rotators

What was that new sprinkler thing you wrote about?

A few weeks ago I wrote about a simple sprinkler conversion that was no harder than unscrewing a bottle cap and screwing another one back on.

Cool Tools & Great Garden Gadgets

49888
Velcro plant support
The items listed have been tested, used and abused by the writer.

Asian Citrus Psyllids - New Citrus Pest a Serious Threat

29550
Asian Citrus Psyllid
By now you may have heard about a new pest that was discovered last month in Orange…

Matilija Poppy a California Plant Icon

44109
Matilija Poppy
As most gardeners know, the California Poppy is the official state flower of California. 

Plant Recommendations

Crassula arborescens
Plant Recommendations Debra Lee Baldwin

Succulents with Blue or Gray Leaves - Southern California

Debra Lee Baldwin's Top Plant Recommendations: Favorite Succulents with Blue or Gray Leaves for Southern California.
Artichoke
Plant Recommendations Richard Frost

Annual Fruits & Vegetables - Southern California

Richard Frost's Top Plant Recommendations: Favorite Annual Fruits & Vegetables for Southern California

Ghost Plant - A Work Horse In My…

30611 Christiane Holmquist
Graptopetalum paraguay
I like to surround myself with plant “work horses” in my garden. My house sits on a…

Ten Vegetables You Can Grow in Shade

91190 Ron Vanderhoff
Vegetables for the shade
Just a couple of days ago I was contacted by a writer working for The Associated Press.

Miniature Roses - A Class of Their Own…

15236 Jan Brider
Jan Brider
Jan Brider's Top Plant Recommendation: Favorite Miniature Roses - A Class of Their Own…

Featured Plant Care

Blackberry Monthly Plant Care

Blackberry - California Blackberry (Rubus ursinus) - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

in Edibles
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!
Bearded Iris

Iris germanica - (Bearded German Iris) - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!
Vanda Orchid Plant Care

Vanda Orchid Plant Care

in Orchids
Orchids are as easy as A - B - C!
Kangaroo Paw Monthly Plant Care

Anigozanthos (Kangaroo Paw) - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!

Latest Articles

Peach Leaf Curl

Peach Leaf Curl - Information Hub

Peach leaf curl is a common problem found on leaves of Peaches and Nectarines (and their…
Avocado Information Hub

Avocado - Growing and Plant Care Information Hub

in Edibles
We're bringing relevant information about Avocados (Persea americana) to one fantastic…

Popular Articles

Using the Mulch for Home Gardeners

Home Gardener: Using All The Great Features on the Mulch

You Can Use The Great Features on the Mulch For Free!
Baseball Field Maintenance

Baseball Field Maintenance - A General Guide for Fields of All Levels

in Lawn
More great baseball field resources can be found here (including a pdf version of this…
Queen Palm Care & Use

The Queen Palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana) Care & Use

in Trees
Jungle Music Palms and Cycads is a family owned and operated business established in 1977
Microgreens

What are Microgreens and How to Grow Them

in Edibles
Microgreens are tiny leafed vegetables that are grown from seed and require very little…

User Guides (Slide)

Popular Recommendations (Slide)

Upcoming Events

View All Events

Who's Online

We have 2886 guests and one member online

  • Bettina