Watering the garden is likely one of the most important chores during the summer months. Any container plants need to be watered daily and quite often a couple of times during the day. Container plants on balconies in particular need extra water during hot spells. A few days ago we had a period of wet weather. While out and about on a rainy day last week I noticed the sprinkler system going full tilt in the lawn of a neighbouring house. I'm sure this wasn't intentional however it certainly was a colossal waste of water! Here are some of the water management strategies I use:
- water the ground not the plant - Soaker hoses and direct soil watering minimizes the amount of water getting onto foliage and puts the water where it is needed near the roots. Wet foliage is more prone to fungal diseases and the spread of those diseases. Water droplets on foliage act as a magnifying glass for the sun's rays causing sun burn on the foliage.
- soilmoist granules - Adding soilmoist granules to the potting mixture for non-edible plants effectively helps prevent the containers from drying out.
- weather watching - This seems like a very simple concept but if the weather forecast is for rain there is no need to water. The exception to this is container plants or a plant that is showing signs of stress due to lack of water. Watering during periods of high winds using a sprinkler is quite wasteful as well. A sprinkler should be avoided for watering
- water thoroughly - A good watering that soaks the soil reaching deep into the roots is better than several light waterings. Light waterings result in a weaker root system leaving plants more prone to drying out.
- timing - I prefer to water in the morning after any dew has dried off the foliage. Moving about damp plants even to water helps spread any disease that may be present. Watering in the morning gives the plants the moisture needed to get through the heat of the day yet ensures both plants and soil are dry enough for the night. Watering in the evening keeps the soil wet through the night promoting mold and attracting garden pests like snails, slugs and earwigs.
- let the soil dry - Letting the soil dry between waterings helps to prevent fungal diseases and pests like the fungus gnat.