Stay Hydrated!

Watering the garden is a GREAT gardening activity for kids of all ages!

With the onset of some of our first super hot days of the summer, now is the time to recheck your watering systems and schedules to make sure your plants will stay quenched and be happy throughout the day! Here in Coastal San Pedro, California the weather has been all over the place, so watering has been a little trickier than usual!

If you have a “set it and forget it” system set up, don’t forget to check the lengths and frequency of your current schedule. With these super hot days, you may temporarily want to add a few minutes to each watering, or better yet, add an additional watering interval as either an additional day, or an additional watering event the same day.

At my house, since some of my planting areas are compacted and the water runs off (stops soaking into the ground) after several minutes of watering, I split the watering sessions into shorter times with additional applications. For example, for at least one of my zones right now, I am watering for 4 minutes at a time, three times between 6:00am and 7:00am (i.e. 6:00am – 4 minutes, 6:15am – 4 minutes, 6:30am 4 minutes) this way the water has a chance to absorb into the soil and seep down into the root systems where it is most available to my plants, preparing them for these longer, hot days while reducing the days I have to consecutively water. This past week, I have had to apply water every other day, but usually I only water one to two days per week!

This is my first year on this property, so I am constantly checking and adjusting things, which has also been a great learning experience. Even if I wasn’t new to this location, with the random rains, dipping and rocketing local temperatures the past few weeks, it is always a good idea to spend extra time adjusting run times and walking your property with a water meter, paying close attention to how your plants react to your adjustments.

If you don’t have a watering system set up and are watering by hand, here are a few tips:

  1. Invest in a cheap water meter so you can check each planter before watering. Often times the soil will look dry, but once you get the meter 6-8″ into the soil, you will see that the soil is actually quite moist or even wet!
  2. Don’t over water – depending on the plant, most plants will not need water until the water meter registers on the “dry” side. This often is only one to two days a week in the ground, but can be much more frequent in your containers.
  3. The best time to water is when you first wake up in the early morning before the sun gets too intense for your delicate plants’ leaves.
  4. Spending time watering in the morning can become a great morning meditation ritual. Grab your coffee or tea and get all of your senses engaged! Be sure to breath in the fragrances of all of the plants, listen to the chirping birds, and witness all of the life and growth!
  5. Keep the water application as close to the soil / root systems as possible – avoid watering the leaves and foliage of the plants (hot sun can burn the leaves and wet leaves also promote more susceptibility to disease and pests.)
  6. Move the hose around in order to best apply water in a uniform way. I like to start on one side and move the hose as soon as I see water begin to pool. I will head to another section and come back once the original location has a chance for the water to seep in.
  7. By giving each of your planters a uniform application of water each day, and watering deeply, so the root systems receive most of the water, you will reduce the number of days water is needed.
  8. For most of my in ground planters, even in this heat, when I water very deeply, I only have to water two to three times a week. Only once most of the time with the normal weather!

If your watering situation is feeling out of hand, or if you are overwhelmed with your irrigation system, there are options! YouTube has great tutorials, you can hire a professional to maintain your irrigation system, or you can also schedule an irrigation consultation with me for more help!

What watering challenges have you been facing or have you overcome?!

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