For some of us out there–hello, Zone 3 gardeners!–the ground’s pretty wet just from snow. For others, the hot days are starting and we need to start thinking about watering the soil. A garden depends on the correct amount of water to develop properly and blossom, and here’s a quick primer to remind us of the best ways of watering wisely….
When To Water
The first step is to determine when you should be watering your garden. You can handcheck the moisture in the soil by feeling the ground around your plants. The first 2-3 inches of soil should be dry, while the soil beneath that should be moist.
Before you decide to water your garden, check your local weather to determine if any rain is on the way. Depending on the daily temperature, watering once a week may be sufficient. For warmer temperatures, it is best to water more often and earlier in the day.
The best times to water your garden are in the morning, before the sun has a chance to evaporate any moisture. Make sure to give your plants adequate time to absorb the water. If your plants have not had a chance to dry before sunset, certain fungal diseases may develop.
Plants, houseplants, trees, and shrubs are all vulnerable to disease and rot if overwatered. Root rot can be caused by constant exposure to over watering and a lack of oxygen. A dormant fungus in the soil can also be triggered, attacking the root and causing the plant to die away.
Yellowing or browning leaves are a sign that a plant disease may be present. If your plant appears to be dying or wilting, or the exposed roots appear to be damaged, you can check beneath the soil for other symptoms. If the roots are black, soft, and mushy, they may be affected by root rot. If the roots are healthy, they should feel firm.
How To Water
Making sure not to under water your plants is just as important as preventing your garden from being over watered. Under watering your plants will cause them to be vulnerable to garden pests. The soil in a garden should be damp and never soggy.
Spray wands and spray nozzles are easy to use and best for smaller gardens. Soaker hoses are better for plants that require a deeper watering. With the exception of occasionally spraying the foliage during droughts, it is recommended to always water the base of your plants. This will allow the roots to soak up the moisture. These techniques are best for conserving water while avoiding the growth of weeds.
Adding compost and mulch to your garden will aid in improving your soil’s moisture. This will simultaneously decrease the amount of weed growth. Depending on your soil, mixing organic compost and mulch into your flower beds will help reduce moisture evaporation.
Proper watering techniques are a necessary step to take while caring for a garden. Making sure not to over or under water the soil are equally important. These tips will aid in ensuring your garden is healthy for years to come.