The Gentle Art of Watering

January 12th, 2010

Waddles & Hazel getting ready to help with watering

Waddles & Hazel getting ready to help with watering

It is hot outside today and it is my day for watering. This year I am lucky to have installed a water tank and this means I can water more often than just 2 times a week this is really great, it means I can sometimes give the tomatoes a drink in the evening after a hot humid day. Watering is an art form – especially in hot climates. If you want to see how fast water evaporates, fill a saucer and leave it out in the sun. An hour in the garden every day with a hand-held hose will only dampen the soil a few centimetres below the surface. Plant roots then grow upwards to drink and get dried out. Instead the roots of plants should be encouraged to reach deep down into the soil where it will be cool and moist. This can be achieved by a good soaking once or twice a week, preferably with a drip system which brings the needed water down into the soil and prevents waste of that precious liquid. Lots of short waterings only encourage the roots to remain near the surface.

My water tank, how I love it!

My water tank, how I love it!

However, it is a different story with pot plants, which may even have to be watered twice a day if the weather is very hot. The best time both for you and for the plants is to water early in the morning or in the cool of the evening.

Soil wetting agents are a real boon and my little gardening tote has a packet in it so I can quickly sprinkle some about. A good sprinkle of wetting agent helps water penetrate the soil deeply and evenly, and will increase moisture in the root zone. In the end it saves water by reducing run off. It is especially useful for container plants. It is best applied early in the cool of the day and you do need to use gloves when you are doing it. Most products will last up to 6 months after application but the soil will tell you what it needs.

My newly installed pump & hose

My newly installed pump & hose

Did I mention that for Christmas Santa brought me a pump for my water tank!  Yeh!!! Watering the tomatoes is an easy and fun job now!  But would I have appreciated it if I hadn’t had to water them with a watering can all last summer?  Well, yes, I think I would!  But you just can’t have juicy tomatoes without water!   I also enjoy my tank of water because it means I can put water out for the birds who last summer had a very hard time of it when the little creek dried up.  Anyway, I am off now to pick some of those tomatoes.  Happy gardening!

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