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May 28, 2015: Gardening Know-How; Watering wisdom.

May 28, 2015: Gardening Know-How;
Watering wisdom.

By Hilary Kemsley, Owner/operator Student Organic Gardeners.

“People don’t like cold water poured on their heads,” said Mom. “Neither do plants.”

Watching the hypnotic, back-and-forth of the sprinkler is soothing enough to silence the buzz of a busy day. Gently hosing down your garden by hand can be almost therapeutic. Your soil darkens, the plants sparkle, and the garden looks luscious.

Too bad both of the above watering techniques are useless, wasteful and harmful to your plants. Oops.

Dampened leaves, while pretty, do not add appreciably to the moisture level of plants. Leaves left damp overnight increase a plant’s susceptibility to disease, fungi and bugs. A plant, like a person, should not go to bed with a wet head.

Ever checked how deeply water sinks into the soil near the stems of your plants? You might be surprised to see how shallow the moisture is, especially if mulch is touching the stems of your plants. Mulch over three inches thick or placed against the core of a plant inhibits its ability to absorb water.

Eight inches of water depth after watering is recommended. Shallow watering encourages shallow roots while deep roots protect vegetation from drought and winter-kill. As well, minimal watering encourages weed germination.

Stephane Poirier of Peartree Property Services has focused solely on organic grass propagation and maintenance since 1999. He advises his lawn care customers to: “Water once a week for 1.5 hours. Give the lawn a deep soaking and let it dry out in between watering sessions.”

The lower or closer the source of water is to the roots, the more likely it is to do a proper job. Installing an in-ground watering system is not available to everyone. Soaker hoses, on the other hand, are reasonably priced. Lay the hose out in the hot sun until it is flexible. Then wind it in, through and around your plants. This round, black snake will drip water into the ground where it belongs.

The Bubbler from Lee Valley Tools works beautifully for new or water-deprived plants. Cost: $8.80. Simply lay the Bubbler next to your thirsty or freshly installed plant and walk away. Before you turn off the tap, always check for the eight inches of water depth.

Author Hilary Kemsley has run Westboro’s Student Organic Gardeners for over 14 years. She can be reached at studentorganicgardeners@gmail.com .

[ED: For more things for Gardeners to do check our Community Calendar Plus here on-line.]


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