Capitol Corridor
Capitol Corridor
Capitol Corridor
University of California
Capitol Corridor


Finally, rain in November! Our last rainfall in Solano County was on September 21. Depending where you are in the county, your garden that late summer day received anywhere from one half to one inch of unusual September rain. You may have been delighted to water a bit less that week after the thorough drenching we received. But did it seem like your garden turned instantly green? Were you imagining how much better your plants looked? How does that happen? Is it a mirage?

No, it was the result of a good dosage of nitrogen deposited by the rain onto your garden. We know that nitrogen is one of the three primary elements necessary for plant growth, along with Potassium and Phosphorous. We also know that the earth’s atmosphere is made up of 78% nitrogen. This atmospheric nitrogen, deposited by a storm such as it was on September 21, can equate to a 10-pound per acre application of fertilizer. That would not be a significant amount for a farmer to apply to an acre under production, or to a homeowner for a (very unlikely) acre of lawn. But for our thirsty gardens in September, that rainstorm delivered a powerful boost towards green growth, followed as it was by the more typical warm sunny days of late September.

Today’s rainfall total will be much less that that of September 21, but be prepared for a noticeable green in your garden, thanks to a light sprinkling of free nitrogen fertilizer.

Rain on Rhaphiolepis indica. (photo by Jennifer Baumbach)
Rain on Rhaphiolepis indica. (photo by Jennifer Baumbach)

Posted on Wednesday, November 20, 2013 at 9:17 AM
Tags: nitrogen (13), rain (12)

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