Water conservation tips

Mon. Jul. 18, 2016

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Water conservation tips

I started my radio show mentioning this song by Ray Charles, so I thought I’d share it!

While storms have brewed up, dumping copious amounts of the precious liquid very quickly that also means the rain may run off quicker than our soil can soak it in.  So, that means watering, especially our container plants and new plantings that are up to 3 years old this season.

Wilted zucchini
Wilted zucchini

Okay, so this hasn’t happened yet in our neck of the woods… but this time of year, generally, brings dry weather, crispy lawns and a choice for us….  how to water.

The University of Minnesota Extension offers some sound watering tips:

  • Water your garden in the morning, before temperatures rise
  • However, water your containers in the afternoon…  yup.  Research shows that container plantings do better if water in the afternoon.  Nope, I don’t know why
  • Avoid evening watering, as this can lead to fungal growth
  • Mulch, mulch, mulch!  Up to 70 percent of water can evaporate from the soil on a hot day. Mulch is one of the best moisture holding tools you can use. Use coarse mulch at a depth of 3-4 inches.
  • Increase organic matter in your soil.  Organic matter absorbs many times its own weight in water, which is then available for plant growth
  • For those newly planted plants,  water once or twice a week, so the soil is wet to a depth of 12-18 inches for trees and shrubs or 6-8 inches for annuals. If you’re not sure how much water this is, try this.  Water your garden, wait an hour or so to allow the water to sink in, then dig a hole about 1 foot deep. Is the soil moist at the bottom of the hole? If not, water more. If it is sopping wet, water less.

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