Watering 101. Believe it or not, if it were an actual course, it should be one that everyone should take that gardens, or ever plan to garden or grow anything. But being capable of watering plants seems like a pretty basic life skill, doesn’t it? Anyone can turn on a hose and spray down the landscape. But does everyone’s landscape flourish, grow, and bloom into an oasis of blooming plants, blooming all season long?
If a plant is thirsty, water it. If you want a green lawn, water it. Simple as that. But what if your flower, vegetable garden, and lawn look they are just barely surviving their way through the season even though you water faithfully and daily? Why, oh, why doesn’t your garden look like the beauties gracing the pages of Better Homes and Gardens?
With just a few tips, you can maximize your watering efforts, and make every drop count toward the lush, blooming paradise you want. It’s all in the ‘when’ and ‘how’ when it comes to watering.
When to Water
Watering is best done early in the day and ideally before the sun shines its rays on the leaves of the plants. But what if you don’t want to get up that early? Well. Early day sun is not as intense as midday sun, so don’t let sleeping in stop you from watering.
But what if you really sleep in? And you have a job. Or a life for that matter. And watering in the morning is simply an impossible feat that cannot be squeezed in in the morning. Well, then you have to water in the evening (although this may promote disease and unwanted critters). While this is not the MOST preferable, it would be the other choice.
BUT what if you walk out your door at 12:30 in the afternoon in the middle of August in 90 degree weather and your cucumbers are flattened to the ground because you forgot to water the day before? What then? Then you water no matter the time of day. Maybe they’ll come back. Maybe they won’t. But at least you tried.
The best bet, is to get on a watering schedule. Check the forecast. If it’s a sunny summer day, water. If it’s overcast and showers are expected, hold off.
How to Water
Don’t stop reading now. Your water wand is not magical. You can’t just wave it over the plants with one motion and done. That’s called shallow water and doesn’t promote good healthy root system. Deep regular watering is really the way to go. That does take some time, but plants are an investment you want to last the whole season, right? A perfect example would be a flowering hanging basket: water until the excess drains out the bottom, and if it happens immediately, then you need to do it several times because it was probably so dry that the water is running around the sides instead of saturating the roots. First year trees, shrubs, and perennials need special watering attention. During droughts pay attention to the look of the leaves on your plants and try to water them prior to severe wilting as to not stress the plant and compromise their health.
Soaker hoses are a great way to limit how long you have to stand there watering. Just turn them on and go about your business for a while. Sometimes, just laying down a hose on trickle can accomplish the same results. Nevertheless, let the water flow for a while and it will cut down on how often you have to do it.
Remember how much you loved those plants when you purchased them? Continue the love with regular watering during the dog days of summer so you can enjoy them for years to come!