M. Gastil-Buhl

Gastil in 2009, Tom Buhl

I go by the nickname "Gastil". I garden in my back yard in Santa Barbara, California, characterized by a Mediterranean climate with mild, moist winters and moderately warm, generally rainless summers. Average precipitation in the region is 430 mm (17 inches) per year with peak rainfall generally occurring between December and March. However, large variation in annual precipitation occurs in the region with totals ranging from less than 180 to more than 1100 mm (7.1 to 43 inches) in the past 150 years. My yard is below a mesa which collects cool air, causing lower winter temperatures than typical for Sunset Zone 24. I estimate my USDA HZ around a 9b or 10a. 34.42 N, 119.720 W, less than 50 m elevation. Summer highs seldom get above 85 °F and winter lows occasionally dip below 32 °F. Fog and dew are a significant source of moisture and more days are cloudy than clear.

Gastil's Back yard in spring, M. Gastil-BuhlRaised bed boxes for growing bulbs, M. Gastil-BuhlPots under shade of arbor, M. Gastil-BuhlClimate, Santa Barbara, metric, M. Gastil-BuhlClimate, Santa Barbara, imperial, M. Gastil-Buhl

Bulbs from the Cape of South Africa tend to thrive here. I want to test which species will grow well in my garden's conditions, beyond what is commonly offered. For this purpose I have built a series of 12 to 16 inch tall wooden boxes lined with half-inch wire mesh and filled with a soil:compost:sand mixture of varying proportions. The top soil is rich and deep. A soil test result of sand:silt:clay proportion of 75:21:4 means my back yard soil is "loamy sand" with an organic matter content of 4.2% (before any amendments are added.) I water primarily with rain water collected in barrels because the local city water is high in minerals.

Video of bees pollinating Watsonia, taken on May 4th, 2013 in the morning. These Watsonia, purchased as corms in the early 1990's are most likely hybrids. A neighbor keeps bee hives. There are always bees in my garden.


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Page last modified on May 04, 2013, at 02:59 PM