Watering? Really? It’s Been So Rainy

An email from the National Garden Bureau on watering made be think.

We have had so much rain lately. Twice our usual amount for the month of June already and we aren’t through the month yet. So do we even have to think about watering?

The answer is: Yes. Think about it and make a decision based on what you know about your garden, where your plants are in their development, your soil, what you have planted and the weather.

Here are some guidelines from The National Garden Bureau that will help you decide.

How much should you water depends on your soil type, the air temperature, wind, type of plant, age of the plant, in-ground vs. in containers (and which type and size of container). An overall rule of thumb is to give your plants 1” of water per week. If you have sandy or silty soil, you will likely need to water more than 1” per week.

If temperatures spike then you will also likely need more than 1” of water per week. For vegetables, here are a few more specific guidelines:
* All seeds need even moisture during germination.
* Beans need more watering when they’re flowering.
* Sweet corn needs water during silk, tassle and ear development.
* Watermelon needs more water during fruit set and growth.
* Tomatoes need consistent amounts of water to prevent blossom end rot. And giant pumpkins need lots of water when they are growing.

Timing: One commonly known fact is that watering in the morning is best. Not that you shouldn’t water in the afternoon or evening but when possible, avoid watering in the heat of the day. Morning watering is best for two reasons: 1) less water evaporates as you water and 2) Overnight dampness on the leaves could cause diseases so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Frequency: Watering more thoroughly is better than watering more frequently. A thorough drink for your plants will help them establish deeper, stronger roots.” And a strong root system is vital for healthy, productive plants.

Also, it is hard to know with these on-and-off again showers if it has rained enough to be useful … too much … or not at all in your garden. Moreau was drenched recently when my own garden 20 miles away got nothing.

In my garden, I don’t guess. Instead, I check the soil before watering by digging a hole about 6 inches deep and touching the soil in the hole to feel if it is damp. If it isn’t, I water. If it is, I leave well enough alone.

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