We all know that water is essential to life, so it’s certainly true for the plants in our garden too. But did you know that too much a good thing can be a bad thing? More plants are killed by over watering than under watering! In this podcast, Joe Lamp’l talks about the best and most efficient ways to water for keeping your plants and garden looking great!
BHG017-Waterwise Tips for a Healthy Garden
We all know that water is essential to life, so it’s certainly true for the plants in our garden too. But did you know that too much a good thing can be a bad thing? More plants are killed by over watering than under watering!
In heavy, poorly drained soil, water is filling the area around the roots, while pushing out the air. So if the water doesn’t drain, it can literally drown our plants. That’s the main reason I speak so often about making sure you have well-drained soil. On the other hand, we don’t want the water to flow right past the roots either, like with sandy soil. So the answer is to find a good balance by incorporating lots of organic matter into your soil.
Most plants in our garden do best with about an inch of water per week. Yet we tend to water a lot more than that. The best way to really know when your plants need supplemental irrigation is to feel the soil and pay attention to your plants. If the soil is dry when you stick you finger into it, it’s time to water. Another good indicator is when your plants start to show signs of drought stress, by yellowing or drooping leaves.
Once the soil is where you want it, there are other things to keep in mind when it comes to water-wise gardening. When ever possible, always irrigate your plants right at the root zone, and never from overhead. Now you’re not going to harm your plants just because you water from above, but the less water that remains on plant foliage, the better. The premise is that as important as water is to survival, it’s a big vector of plant diseases that can be transported in water or fostered in damp conditions.
But if overhead water is still the most practical application for you, just make sure that you do so early enough in the morning, so that that your plants have plenty of time to dry their leaves out quickly. If you do that, your plants should be just fine. Yet a better way to water that’s a lot more efficient, and better for your plants is through soaker hoses or drip irrigation. These methods allow you to deliver that water right at the root zone, slowly, so plant roots have time to absorb it. And since the irrigation is being delivered at ground level, the foliage stays dry and there’s little risk of water, which might carry disease spores in the soil from splashing back up onto your plants.
But just to be safe, adding a layer of mulch around three-inches thick, will certainly cut back on any chance those water drops have of splashing back up onto those plants. And there’s another benefit of having all that mulch there as it relates to water. Think of it as an insulating blanket, helping to hold the moisture in the soil, while keeping your plants hydrated longer and reducing the supplemental watering needed by you.
So there you have it, the three most important things to waterwise gardening to keep your plants healthy: water only as needed, keep the foliage dry and add mulch.
But there’s another thing you can do to have a healthy garden; listen to all the Burpee Home Gardens podcasts. This is just one of 26 we having waiting for you. And every one is created to take you one more step to a healthier and productive garden. You can subscribe to the series for free in iTunes, or listen online at Burpeehomegardens.com, where you can also find great ideas and inspiration any time. Thanks for listening everybody. This is Joe Lamp’l, and I’ll see you back here next time for another BurpeeHomeGardens Tip of the week Podcast.
Now go get dirty!