Community Gardens: Three Watering Tips

As gardeners we learn something new about gardening every year.  We’re constantly evolving our gardening practices to grow a more productive garden.  I would raise my eyebrows in skepticism if a person claimed they know everything there is to know about gardening and growing your own food.  No matter where you find yourself along the spectrum of gardening knowledge, it’s good to remind yourself of the basics.  I’ve been seeing quite a few wilty plots at the community gardens this week, so let’s remind ourselves of one essential gardening element, H20!

Watering Tip #1 – Follow Greg Price’s watering rule of thumb: For germinating seeds water less (in amount) but more often (frequency).  For established plants, water more but less often.  Think about where you want the water to go.  Do you want the water to reach the seeds just under the soil surface, or to penetrate deep into the soil finding the plants roots?

Watering Tip #2 – How to tell if you’ve watered enough…get some dirt underneath those fingernails and do the two finger test!  Someday I’ll make a cliche two finger test dance move that’s on par with the sprinkler or shopping cart.  Take your index finger and middle finger and stick it into your garden’s soil.  Do you feel moisture at your fingertips?  If yes, maybe wait a day to water.  If you notice that only the top layer of soil is moist, you know you haven’t watered enough.

Watering Tip #3 – Encourage healthy root growth by doing a deep soak every other day.  Let the roots work a little to seek the water that’s deeper in the soil.  This encourages strong root development versus shallow watering everyday.

Bonus Tip – Conserve water by watering in the morning or evening instead of during the heat of the day.  Less water will be lost due to evaporation.  Water at the base of your plant instead of overhead watering.  This way you can direct the water exactly where you want it to go, to it’s roots.  Most plants don’t like to have water on their leaves, i.e tomatoes.

Most importantly don’t forget to water yourself, stay hydrated while at the garden!