The Heat of the Summer

The heat of the summer is upon us! It is mid-June and the water conservation project at Strawberry is entering its next major stage.  The indoor water audits performed to identify leaks and the need for new ultra-high efficiency toilets have been completed.  Now that we finally have a number of toilets to order, we can move onto the installation phase of the project.  We hope to get all of the new toilets installed by this time next month as to get the water savings realized at the HOA as soon as possible.  As if we needed any encouragement, Mother Nature has reminded all of Colorado that conserving water is an utmost priority.  As I write this, six wildfires burn throughout the state following the day noted as the earliest calendar date on record for Denver to have seen 100 degrees.  With our reservoirs still reeling from a vicious wildfire season last year and the prolonged drought being experienced in our region, conserving water has rarely been this urgent in the Denver Metro Area; especially as we have been told by authorities to expect much of the same this year.

Our community garden has suffered from this week’s intense heat as well.  The little seedlings, in the ground for less than two weeks, have been very thirsty.  Though the crippling heat has many gardens across the Metro Area begging for water, the Strawberry garden is in a far better situation.  The committee of gardeners overseeing its care could not be more dedicated.  Because we are yet to install the drip irrigation system that will keep the garden hydrated permanently, there is a need for two periods of hand-watering each day – once in the morning and again in the evening.  Because of the size of the garden and the fragility of the infant plants, each watering session can take up to two hours.  The commitment required to sustain this irrigation schedule is huge!  Our committee has not faltered with this and continues to care for the garden each day.  After all, is there a more intimate way to nurture a garden than to enter it with bare feet and water each and every plant individually?  We at CAP Management could not be more proud of the committee established to ensure the garden’s success.  The end-of-season community harvest supper will be that much sweeter.

Because this summer is expected to be so dry and hot, it was critical that we got the seedlings in the ground prior to the heat of summer setting in.  Though the plants used for the xeriscaping initiative at Strawberry will be hardier, the same goes for them.  Granted, we are already seeing very high thermometer readings, but there will surely be some period of reprieve where temperatures are more seasonable ahead of the typically hottest summer months.  Over the course of this week and next, I hope to perfect the xeriscape implementation plan so we can get those plants in the ground and further reduce the consumption of water at Strawberry.

Stay tuned to see how our planting projects respond to summer conditions.  Perhaps you can use any lessons learned through our initiatives to guide the creation of your future gardens.  The next blog post will cover the installation of the massive number of new toilets so be sure to check back for those stories as well!