This year is turning out to be one of the hottest on record and this means that we need to water our gardens more frequently to keep our plants happy. At the same time we are being asked not to waste water and to use it in the most efficient manner. So how can we make sure that we are making the best use of the water that we spray on our plants? Well I came across this article by Linda Hagen in the Garden Design Magazine which has some useful tips to help us water our summer gardens properly.
When Mother Nature turns up the heat in your garden, make sure you’re watering your plants properly. Here are 13 tips to help ensure your plants survive the heat of summer:
- Test the soil with your finger. Poke down a few inches near the stem to check the root zone. You can also use a soil moisture meter, like this 3-in-1 moisture, pH, and sunlight intensity tester. Even if the surface seems dry, there may still be moisture below. If not, get the hose!
- Watering in the morning is best. This will allow the water to soak in before it evaporates from heat and dry wind, allows the leaves time to dry out if they get splashed, and plants will have the moisture to draw from during the heat of the day. Late afternoon is second best, just be sure the foliage will dry out before nighttime. Avoid watering in the heat of the day because water will evaporate much faster and any overspray on the leaves can cause them to burn.
- Water at the base of the plant with a watering wand, long-neck watering can, soaker hose, or drip system. Avoid getting the leaves, fruits, or vegetables wet to help prevent diseases that thrive on moisture, like powdery mildew.
- Wind dries out plants quickly from moisture lost through the foliage—the larger the leaves, the more moisture lost (think squash, cucumber, coral bells, etc.). Protect plants with barriers, such as a structure made with shade cloth, or locate them out of wind-prone areas.
- Fruits and vegetables need consistent water to produce well. Don’t let them go completely dry before watering them again because this can cause problems like blossom end rot or cracked tomatoes.
See more at the Garden Design Magazine