34 August 18, 2010

Mid August is usually a time for last minute vacations and back to school shopping. There is, however, one thing that needs to be done in the gardens and that is keeping your plants watered.

Keeping your plants watered can be a full time job. With watering restrictions in place, many of you can only water at certain times of the day. It can be hard to water if you don’t have the time to stand out at the gardens with a hose in hand or you may not have the time to run back and forth with a watering can full of water. You can ease your time constraints by applying a product called Soil Moist directly into the soil.  Some of you may be familiar with using Soil Moist. It is a granule you apply at the time of planting to help hold moisture in the soil. Soil Moist is a polymer that has the ability to absorb large amounts of water. As the soil dries, it releases that water back into the soil. Each time you water, it re-absorbs excess water and then releases it back into the soil as the soil dries out.  We use it a lot at spring planting time when we pot up window boxes and other planters. Yet many of you would be surprised to know that you can still use it at this time of the year. If you take a pencil and poke holes in the soil around the drip line of the plants, you can fill the holes with the Soil Moist granules. As you water your plants, the Soil Moist granules will absorb some of the water and then release it back into the soil as the soil dries. You can use this method on window boxes, hanging baskets and any container grown plants. This works well on the container – grown vegetable plants. You can use it in your vegetable gardens, perennial beds and any annual flower beds. You will cut down dramatically on how often you will need to water just by adding the Soil Moist granules into the soil.

Another way you can cut down on how much time you spend watering is by using soaker hoses. Soaker hoses are placed around the plants. The hose oozes water out the length of the hose. All of the water winds up in the soil. You do not lose any water due to evaporation the way you would with any conventional sprinkler. Ultimately, soaker hoses will allow you to use less water which in turn saves you money on your water and sewerage bills.

If you haven’t applied any mulch around your plants, doing so now will allow you to use less water. The mulch cuts down on the evaporation of water from the surface of the soil. People tend to think of mulch as being used only around trees and shrubs. However, even a thin layer of mulch around the base of your perennials and your vegetable plants will cut down on how much water you will need to apply to keep your plant hydrated.

If you have gardens, you can do your part to minimize the amount of water you are using to keep your plants alive. If we all can cut back on the amount of water we are using now, it may prevent a complete mandatory ban on outdoor watering. If that happens and we don’t get rain, you will lose some of your plants due to lack of water.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.

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