when it rains in texas, it rains BIG. april showers finally decided to descend upon central texas yesterday. it rained from about 8am until 5pm, the first 15 minutes of which filled the rubbermaid tubs we have sitting under the eaves of the back roof.
looks like we’ll eventually have to install gutters (no, they don’t come standard on the houses around here) and a proper rainwater harvesting system. this could be a good investment, not only for the savings on the plant watering bill and water resources overall, but because the city water is quite saline – not particularly pleasant if you’re a thirsty plant. by watering with collected rain, accumulated salts can be leached from the soil profile, making for happier plant roots.
and then there’s the high alkaline clay soils. you can see from the image below just how clay and water like to interact with each other:
it takes a long time for water to make its way through a clay soil profile, causing the majority of it to sit on the surface. this ponding effect is magnified in our backyard due to the lack of adequate grading – water moves downhill, and our backyard is lower in elevation than street level, where the storm drains are located. convenient, eh? we’ve already installed perforated drains under the vegetable beds to provide an additional (temporary) water storage area, but are now looking into some kind of pump system to move it up toward the front yard and off the property at street level. since almost 2/3 of the back yard was completely submerged during yesterday’s storm, i guess i’d better get my grading books out… or my collection of tea cups for bailing purposes (and i’m not talking taxes here)…