Posts Tagged ‘watering’

The October Garden

October 1st, 2010

Bearded Iris

The weather is getting warmer, and there is now no good excuse to stop getting out into the garden.  The nurseries look wonderful at this time of the year and are stuffed full of flowering plants to tempt one into impulse buying.  I try to avoid this by making a list, but find myself giving in and coming home with something I had not planned on at all.  Last weekend I come home with three beautiful flowering plants that require full sun, when the only spaces I have are in the shade! What was I thinking?

Broad beans

Out in the vege patch the broad bean plants are covered in flowers, which will soon turn into juicy broad beans.  Can hardly wait! This is probably the most important month for sowing or planting vegetables.  Ahead is at least six months growing weather, so it is important to get on out there and plant, plant plant!   The ducks are laying every day now and we can enjoy egg sandwiches, egg mcMuffins, cakes and all things eggy!

The soil is pretty much warmed up now and although we are still having some quite cold nights the threat of frosts are becoming a thing of the past.  The days are longer now too making it much easier to find a little time in the late afternoon for a bit of pottering about.  The roses I cut back have all got beautiful new growth and some even have tiny buds.  They look at me as I pass them in the driveway and call silently for some fertilizer such as blood and bone. 

camellia

Out the back it is all looking a bit the worse for wear.  I need to get busy and tidy it all up.  Pots tend to dry out with great speed during this time of the year and can be drooping before you know it, so it is back to a watering program to be fitted into my daily routine.  Other than that it is weed heaven out there, so I have to get on to them.

Well, the sun is calling me and I must be off and out and doing!

Happy gardening!

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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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January Jobs

January 5th, 2010

 

Water in the cool of the morning

Water in the cool of the morning

The summer is getting mighty hot out there so I head out first thing these days and try to finish all my little chores early in the day.  Some chores are wet and cool and there is nothing more pleasant than watering in the cool fresh morning after a hot night.  The plants enjoy it too.  Here are the main tasks that will keep me busy for the month ahead.

Fertilising: All the flowering annuals will benefit from a fortnightly application of liquid fertiliser. So will the tomatoes and any veges in that vege garden. Azaleas, camellias, rhododendrons and daqhnes can also be fertilised this month. You need to water well before and after applying the fertiliser or you can burn the plant. If you have any problems with yellow leaves on plants such as daphnes you can cure this by watering with a watering can full of water to which you have added 1 tablespoon, but no more than 1 tablespoon of epson salts just once a month.

Feed the tomatoes once a fortnight

Feed the tomatoes once a fortnight

Watering:January is the month where this really becomes a chore esp. with all the water restrictions in force. The roots of the plants should be encouraged to reach deep down into the soil, where it will be cool and moist, and this can be achieved by a good soaking once or twice a week. Lots of short waterings only encourage the roots to remain near the surface, where they dry out easily and can be burned off on a hot day. The best time to water is early in the morning. Roses are best watered in the morning, as damp foliage in the evening provides an ideal enviroment for the spread of fungal diseases such as black spot and downy mildew.

Weeding: January is that dreaded month where weeds run to seed, so we do need to try to keep the weeding under control. To win the battle you need to pull the weeds out before they go to seed. This makes the job much easier in the coming year. I mulched my garden in October so the weed situation is not too bad for me but there are some determined ones out there….

Waddles ready to help with the mulching chore

Waddles ready to help with the mulching chore

Mulching:

I find that I have a much healthier and mor robust garden if I have mulched at the beginning of the summer, but it is not too late to start. All gardens benefit from mulching. Compost, dried leaves, lucerne-hay all make excellent mulch. Water first (after pulling out those weeds) then stuff that mulch on top.  Waddles and Hazel love to help as I weed and mulch you just never know what snails are still lurking out there.

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Filling the Gaps

December 15th, 2009

Fill the gaps with some colourful annuals

Fill the gaps with some colourful annuals

I have been very busy in the garden over the past few days. The weather has been lovely and it has been good to be outside. Getting busy with the secateurs, then the choppers. Scrapping those determined weeds, digging, mulching etc.  But then I stood back and looked at all my hard work  to find….gaps! Yes, the weeds have secretly been having their own way. Sneaking into the garden when I wasn’t looking. Must have been while I was busy dead-heading the roses!
Anyway, whatever, there were gaps and they must be filled! So away to the local nursery. Such a tough job, but someone has to do it and it was up to me!
Bare patches must not be wasted! One cheap, trusted and fun option is to break open a packet of nasturtium seed. Just sprinkle these about with abandon, something usually comes from this. The packet doesn’t say ‘easy to grow’ for nothing. Really what is summer without nasturiums? You can eat them! Unfortunately, my ducks enjoy doing just this. So, I need to plant these where the ducks don’t get a look in!   

Don't waste the gap

Don't waste the gap

Petunias used to be a favourite of mine, back before the drought. But I really cannot afford to water them and it is too sad to put them in. I do miss them and their happy colour so at Christmas I treat myself to putting a few into a hanging basket which I hang right in front of my kitchen window. This cheers me up while I wash the dishes!
Some things to remember when going on a mission such as this is, well, don’t get carried away! Remember, when you get home you have to have enough gaps to fit all the plants you buy into! Also, you have to plant them and you don’t want so many that it becomes a chore and not a hobby. The hot weather is coming and you will have to nurse them along with extra water for a few weeks while they settle in. So, just calm down, maybe set yourself some limits or write a shopping list.  My sensible self always gives advice like this. Follow it if you like I seldom do and come home with heaps! Then find I can’t fit them all in!  Quick to the pots!

Putting old pots to use in summer

Putting old pots to use in summer

Talking of which after the expedition you may have some of these left over. Before you turf them into the bin try sinking them down into the soil near young trees that do not receive water from sprinklers. Fill them twice a week over the summer months. This little trick gives you a low cost way of drip watering. I find also that the pot in the ground reminds me that I need to water. It saves wasting water just surface watering, where the water just runs off and dosen’t get down to the roots where it is needed.

Well, I am off to sink some pots!

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