growing in the ground and soil requirements

Tue, 17 Jul 2012 13:03:10 PDT
Peter wrote:
"What  size are the animals you hope to exclude with the wire mesh?"

Gophers from underneath; raccoon, skunk, possum from above. 
Luckily there is no evidence of rats nor mice, likely thanks to the neighbor cats.
Would you recommend 1/4" mesh? I considered it although it is a 
finer gauge so I thought it might not last as long. 
Gophers have not made it into my older boxes with 1/2" mesh... yet. 
It is not too late to dig back down and re-lay a second layer of 1/4" mesh if you think it necessary.
I think South Africa has mole rats that are small enough to get thru 1/2" mesh 
but I hope to NOT recreate that aspect of these corms' native habitat!

Peter wrote:
"Several of the genera you list have both Summer growing and Winter growing 
species, as well as arid growing and wet growing species. You will need to 
allocate beds to particular micro climates and try to manipulate the 
conditions in each bed to give appropriate conditions for the species in 
that particular bed."

Yes, I will have to set aside a separate bed for summer-wet species. 
Excellent point! Primarily I chose winter-growing, summer-dry species. 
I should have mentioned that these raised beds are in full sun, 
except one box which only gets about 2 hours direct sun in winter. 
That one I can assign to the summer growers since it gets full sun in summer.

Peter asked:
"do you have much summer rain?"

Rain is rare here in summer. Average monthly rain in mm in Santa Barbara is less than
5 mm in each of June-July-August. Yet the soil:///sand:compost/ mix in my older boxes supports 
volunteer dicots into July with no water such as Linum, Linaria and Anagalis which I expect put 
down deep roots last winter. Someone mentioned on this list the use of non-bulb plants 
more sensitive to moisture as an indicator so I left a few "weeds" for that purpose. 
These show no wilt so I expect the soil mix is still holding some moisture. 
The top 4 inches are powder dry in the older boxes now. 
Air moisture, as coastal fog or dew, is a significant source of moisture here.

Peter wrote:
"I think that you might want to use a fair quantity of organic material." 

Does the 50:50 organic to mineral recommendation for potted growing media 

apply to growing in the ground?  My intuition tells me to use a higher proportion of organic material in-ground 
than in a pot. Is that what you are recommending? 

Great advice/questions. Thank you.
- Gastil

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