These days it feels as if water might just become more precious than gold! It’s approaching 100° Fahrenheit in Syracuse, New York as I write this post, and we’ve received about .2 inches of rain in almost one month! Between the late season frosts and the current lack of rain crops like sweet corn are about two weeks behind. Most of the “experts” aren’t calling the current situation a drought yet, but I am. That said I’ve put together this quick post on watering basics that might help conserve water, and help your “blooms”.
Just to give you an idea of how important water is to the plants in your garden, they are made up of about 90% water! Without water plants will turn yellow, wilt and die, but the tough part is the symptoms of under watering and over watering are the same. So how do we know if we are watering too much or watering too little?
The following basic tips will help prevent over/under watering, and adhered to can also help conserve water in times of drought…
- First things first, set up a rain gauge so that you know how much water your gardens are receiving to begin with. You can fashion your own simple rain gauge out of a funnel and ball jar.
- Water most plants and grasses about an inch per week. However, you need to use your judgment here, you should be sure to keep your soil relatively moist, and never let it dry out completely! As always there are exceptions to the rule. Keep the following in mind:
- The weather: hot & dry conditions will require more watering than cool & damp conditions.
- Soil makeup: Soil with a lot of organic material will soak up a lot of water, where soil with very little organic material will not soak up as much water. Also, organic materials will dry out quickly in hot direct sunlight, whereas soil with clay, sand, stones and organic materials mixed together will stay moist for longer.
- Mulch: If you have applied mulch to your gardens it will help to retain moisture so there may not be a need for as much watering.
- Density of plants: If your plants are planted very close together, and you have a lot of them they may need more watering.
- You should water in the early morning hours, and try to avoid watering between the hours of 11am to 6pm. Believe it or not you can burn your plants if you water them in the hot afternoon sun. Also, try not to water to late as wet leaves and stems can start to build fungi.
- Try not to use a spray nozzle that can flatten plants, save time and energy and set out a sprinkler.
- Finally, do a little research on your plants before you water. Be sure to know how they absorb water, i.e. roots, leaves, flowers, etc…
You can also get some great tips on watering at http://ow.ly/c6Bda, which is a blog by Cristina da Silva or @CristinaGardens. Cristina also runs #Groundchat on twitter that offers many topics like watering…
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