Watering – are you killing your garden with love?

When and how much to water my garden? That old dilemma that has tested gardeners over the centuries. The question is so troublesome because the effects of both drought and over watering can cause the same symptoms in plants-yellowing of the leaves and wilt. The other difficulty is that there are no generic rules that can be applied to all plants. Some like a lot and others don’t. Quite a headache if your garden is a mixture of plants used to different climates from all over the world. There are a few rules however that can limit the damage caused by those being a bit too gung ho with the hosepipe.

When to water my garden

Mornings are preferable. Plant roots are much more receptive in the morning and evening. By midday plants are doing other stuff and water is not taken up so readily at this time. Evening watering tends to encourage slugs and fungal diseases. It comes down to probability really, and although there is an increased chance of this during evening watering, it’s still best to give them a dousing in the evening if they are dry. If you do have to water in the evening try not to get the leaves wet as evaporation from the leaves is much slower at night and water on the leaves is great for fungus. The last thing you want is powdery mildew or sooty mould!

How often to water

In general lots of small waterings are not a good idea. It’s better to do less frequent ‘deep watering’. The theory is that the plants become lazy. They seem to learn that they’re going to get water regularly and don’t feel the need to go looking for it. If you want your plants to put down strong deep roots then give them heavier amounts but less often. This way they tend to grow longer tap type roots to ensure that they can access the moisture that is deeper in the soil.

How much to water my garden

Tricky, because every plant type is different, but let’s start with lawns. Try this-get a six inch screwdriver and try to push it into your lawn to it’s full depth. if you can’t get it all the way in then you are not watering your lawn enough. Lawns require about one to one and a half inches of rain per week. That’s about a 5 litre or one gallon watering can per square yard per day. That will keep it looking lush, any less than that and it’s going to look a bit dry and brown. General borders need about two inches of water per week. This is about two watering cans per square yard per day or twice that every other day. When it comes to vegetables they require a lot of water. It’s just a matter of what they are made of. Cucumbers and celery are 95% water! Tomatoes need two inches of water per week, preferably applied during every other day doses.

Pots can easily be tested for moisture by pushing your finger into the soil about an inch and if it feels dry then reach for the watering can.

 

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