I knew my mother's secret for having the best houseplants at Garfield Elementary School. She filled her watering container early, let it evaporate out the chlorine, and then used it. No other teacher had so many flowers in their classroom.
She told me about it with a big smile - "Give it at least 24 hours. Flowers do not like chlorine." Later, when I bought her bare-root roses to grow in St. Louis, she ended up with the best ones in the condo area, and people asked her how she did it. She said, "I grew up on a farm."
Now that regular rains have departed, and the rain-barrels are empty, I have done the same to build up a supply of stored water. When I was done with some routine watering, I filled one barrel almost to the top. Some replacement roses are coming, so they will be soaked in stored water before planting. The $2 rugosa roses will get daily watering from the same supply.
What seems like a lot of water is soon gone when gallons are used here and there. I have four large rain-barrels and four 5-gallon painting buckets (clean).
|People gasp at Big Bertha,|
which is an expensive copy of the earthworm
they take for granted.
Avoiding chlorine in the water is short-hand for favoring the bacteria cycle. As readers know, earthworms graze on bacteria. The earthworm's rings of muscle and bristle propel them through the soil. They are like the giant tunnel-boring equipment used to create space for subways and underground pipes. From the mouth to the disposal area, the earthworm is one straight digestive track, with little grinding stones to pulverize the intake.
When man tries to imitate Creation, a much more elaborate device is needed, and it can choke on a pipe found in the wrong place.
But earthworms patiently continue the work assigned them, which brings us back to bacteria. The earthworm does not digest the food taken in through its mouth. The bacteria digest the food for the earthworm and get a free ride.
Since most bacteria are not dangerous and help keep disease organisms at bay, they are good and useful.
Nitrogen fixing bacteria are the foundation for improving the soil. I visited the office of a company that drew nitrogen from the atmosphere in Midland, Michigan and sold it to Dow Chemical. Nitrogen gas is handy for preventing fires and explosions in chemical reactions.
Pulling nitrogen from the atmosphere without changing it is an elaborate and noisy operation, but the bacteria do the same and make a compound at the same time. I am no chemist, just a chemnitz, so here is the explanation -
|Cow Vetch is a legume that produces|
seed loved by budgies and other birds.
|Vetches are not glamorous because they grow on their own,|
but Cow Vetch has a delicate flower that would be prized if rare.