June 22, 2016
We are rolling along towards the end of June. The weather has been nice but we do desperately need a day or two of a nice steady rain. This type of rain tends to soak into the soil as opposed to the rain from a thunderstorm that will run off the surface of the dry soil rather then leach into the soil.
You have invested a lot of money into plants this spring. You need to protect that investment by keeping the plants watered and fertilized. Watering your plants may become a huge issue if we don’t start getting some rain. Most cities and towns have some type of water restrictions that determines when you can water lawns and / or plants. Many of the restrictions allow you to water before 9 AM. This actually works out for the best for your plants. Plants take up water better earlier in the day. If you water before 9 AM, the plants will take up water that can then help with the overall health of your plants. Even if you are on an alternate day watering, your vegetable gardens should survive from day to day if they get a thorough watering on the days you can water.
In your gardens, be it perennials or vegetables, you will use less water if you install soaker hoses in your gardens. Soaker hoses ooze water drop by drop from this type of porous hose. Properly placed in your garden, this type of watering will cover a three-foot wide area. The hoses are laid out in your gardens in a manner that will allow each plant to get water. If you have a row of beans, you would lay the hose about 6 inches away from the plant. The hose is held in place with garden staples. These are U shaped pieces of metal that are placed over the hose and pushed into the ground. When you hook up a regular garden hose to the soaker hose, you only need to partially open the water source to fill the soaker hose. If you work with a low amount of water, the soaker hose will literally “sweat” water out along the length of the hose. The water drops fall onto the soil and the soil can then absorb the water. You may have to run the soaker hose for 30 to 60 minutes to get sufficient water into the soil. The good news is that you will actually use less gallons of water to achieve a thorough soaking of that row of beans. You can arrange soaker hoses around your other vegetables in your garden and your can also weave the soaker hose around the perennials in your garden.
If you are growing plants in containers, you should consider adding a product called Soil Moist to the soil. These tiny granules look like granules of sugar. You can scratch some of the granules into the soil in your containers or you can take a pencil and poke holes in the soil and add some of the granules into the holes. When you water your containers, the soil will absorb some water. The Soil Moist granules will absorb the excess water. As the soil dries, the granules will release the water that they have stored in the granules allowing the water back into the soil. Using Soil Moist will allow you to water less often and your plants will suffer less water stress especially later in the season.
One of the other things that you should consider is laying down mulch around your plants. The mulch will work to hold in moisture and it will help to keep the soil cooler. You need to keep the mulch away from the stem of your plants to prevent the stems from rotting.
You can get the water that your plants need if you get a bit creative in this time of water restrictions. Soaker hoses, mulching and water retaining granules will help your plants to survive a potentially dry summer.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.