As I write this the sun is shining, the sky is blue but we do need the rain. It has been the driest April on record. How much water should we give our garden plants.?
While the general rule of thumb is about an inch or two of water each week with deep, infrequent watering as opposed to the more frequent shallow watering, this really depends on a number of factors.
First consider type of soil. Sandy soil is going to hold less water than heavier clay soil and will dry out faster. Improving soils is very important ..healthier soil drains better but still allows for some water retention. Applying mulch is a good idea, reducing watering needs. Not everything needs watering, so in dry spells priority is an important word.
Top of the list come young plants, anything in green house or conservatory, outdoor tubs, hanging baskets and window boxes. Next come veg, salads and bedding plants. followed by recently planted perennials, shrubs and trees. Established trees, shrubs, lawns and hedges can be left to take their chances. If you start watering you will have to continue, since new roots will make their way to the surface where it is dampest, the plants will suffer even more if you suddenly stop. Start as you mean to go on and teach them self reliance.
Some watering hints ...
- Do not let drought set in before you start watering. It can be difficult to recover moisture levels in both plants and soil
- Do not water sparingly and too frequently. This will encourage surface roots, making the plant more susceptible to drought
- Do not forget to weed. These unwanted plants use up valuable nutrients and moisture from the soil
- Do not water during the heat of the day, most of the water will evaporate.
- Do not think a summer shower will save you watering. Most of this rainfall will evaporate before it reaches the roots and the rain will be deflected away from the base by leaves and flowers.
- Water at the base of the plant and
- Put trays under containers. Plants like taking water from below
- Remember plants in containers and hanging baskets need to be watered more often than those planted in the soil.
Enjoy your gardening and happy watering,