Gardening & More: Break out those watering cans
You want water to reach all of the roots of your plant. In addition, you want to water the soil surrounding the root system, because dry soil around the roots acts like a sponge and can draw water away from the plant.
If your plant’s root system goes down 3 or 4 inches into the soil, you must get water down that far. If you have 2 inches of mulch on top of your soil, you need to make sure water gets through those 2 inches of mulch, as well as through the 4 inches of soil.
For established gardens, begin by setting the water source on low and directing the stream at the base of the plant until the area puddles up. Move on to another plant and then another, until all have been watered. Then, go back and water them all again. When you have completed that, hose down the rest of the bed, to keep it moist.
After you have watered enough, move some of the mulch away. You may be surprised to find that the soil is still dry and the water hasn’t gotten past the mulch.
Four more watering tips
These first three tips are from Linda Blyth of Tonawanda. You can see the gardens that she tends with her husband Brian at 939 Delaware Road on the Ken-Ton Garden Tour, which runs from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. July 21 and 22. Her garden is also on the Open Gardens of the National Garden Festival, and 2 – 6 p.m. Thursday, July 26 is the last day to see it.
Watering tip No. 1:
Bury pots in garden bed
Keeping plants in pots is a good way to prevent plants from spreading all over your garden. To cut down on watering, set the pots 2 – 4 inches into the soil. When you water, any excess water will drain into the garden bed and keep moisture at the roots of your plant.
Watering tip No. 2:
Line containers with plastic
When the weather is very warm, you may have to water your containers more than once per day. To cut down on watering, line containers with plastic shopping bags to help retain the moisture.
You still have to water regularly. The plastic bag plugs up drainage holes that can allow excess water to drip through. If you let your plants dry out and then attempt to fix them by drenching them, you will just be alternating under-watering with over-watering.
Watering tip No. 3:
Water the hole before you add a plant
This is a good tip whenever you are planting, but is especially important during the hot, dry weather we are experiencing now. When you dig the hole for your plant, water the hole before sinking the plant. Create a moat around the plant and fill it with compost or mulch and then water the moat.
Watering tip No. 4:
Make a slow-release irrigator
I found this tip on Pinterest®. The directions originated at the Provident Living website and you can view more photos there, as well as detailed instructions on how to make this irrigation dripper that is quick to fill, but releases water to the roots of your plants slowly.
Find a 2-liter pop or juice bottle, milk carton or other plastic container. Using a pocket knife or box cutter, make two small slits in the bottom of the bottle. Make two more small slits halfway up the container.
Fill the bottle with water to test it. If it empties too slowly, make bigger slits.
Dig a hole next to your plant and place the bottle mouth-side up. Cover it with dirt about 2/3 of the way up.
Fill the bottle with a hose.
The Provident Living site discussed how to regulate the water flow by screwing on the cap, creating an air hole and adding sand. It also discusses placing the bottle in the hole upside down and using it as a funnel.
The brand-new West Seneca Garden Walk will take place from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., July 21 and 22.
The West Seneca Garden Walk is being organized by Sharon and Dave Pulinski. They said they used to go on garden walks in other towns and ask each other, “Why doesn’t West Seneca have a garden walk?”
They began talking to neighbors about the idea last summer and got people interested. They now have 21 gardens registered for their debut event.
Visitors can pick up paper maps at Ebenezer Greenhouse, 1347 Union Road, West Seneca, or visit the Burchfield Nature and Art Center website. Also, check out the Upcoming Events Page at Buffalo-NiagaraGardening.com.
Connie Oswald Stofko is publisher of Buffalo-NiagaraGardening.com, the online gardening magazine for Western New York. Email Connie@BuffaloNiagaraGardening.com.