Monday, June 6, 2011

How my garden grows - In order to live off a garden, you practically have to live in it

It’s clear that plants need water to survive . . . from the moment the seed is put into the soil until the last harvest proper watering  or your garden is essential.  Depending on the plant, most vegetables are made up of 60% to 85% water . . . some even 95%!  

You can’t count on mother nature to take full responsibility for providing all the water your garden needs throughout the growing season.  After all, you’re little garden is just a speck and she has the whole earth to worry about.

So, you must take responsibility for watering and taking care of your plants.  As summer progresses, water evaporates from plant leaves and the soil more rapidly.  This means you need to water more often.

The best time to water your garden is early in the morning.  This gives the water a chance to absorb into the soil before the sun gets strong and the moisture begins to evaporate.  And, your plants will be happier if their not soaking wet all night long.

It's really important that your garden gets a good soaking when you water to promote a deep root system.   A light sprinkling can often do more harm than no water at all because it stimulates the roots to come to the surface, where they are killed by exposure to the sun.   Not good.

Soil can only absorb so much moister in a given time, so I water long enough for the water to soak down at least 2 inches into the soil.  I water for about 30 minutes each morning.

Keep in mind that what's good for my garden is not necessarily what is right for yours.  The type of soil you have, its composition, condition and how well it retains moisture makes a big difference.  It also depends on your climate and weather conditions.  

Always be sure to prepare your soil before you plant.  We tilled in lots of organic material and compost before we set our plants.  Soil that's been enriched with organic material will hold water better.  

Tilled soil also adds the advantage of allowing the plants to develop a larger root system.  A larger root system needs less water to sustain it. 

Also, depending on the plant depends on how you should water it.  Most plants can take most of the water from above . . . after all that's how Mother Nature does it.    But flowering plants like zucchini and cucumbers should be watered from the ground level when they are in blossom.  This is because you don't want to fill the flowers up with water or wash the pollen away . . . if that happens the bees can't get busy doing what it is they do and you will have less veggies to show for your effort.

Water often, water well . . . your veggies will thank you!

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