Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Heat Wave & Watering Tips

For those of you who don't live on the East Coast perhaps you don't know that we're experiencing a bit of a heat wave...

And for those of you who DO live here, wow oh wow it's been H-O-T!

I thought I'd pass along a few tips of the trade for keeping your containers alive and well-watered when it seems like nothing you're doing is helping.  I know even we get home every night to a few weepy plants even though we may have watered them that morning or the evening before.  Our tomatoes have been known to drink 4 gallons of water in a day (each!!)

So without further ado, let me introduce you to a few of my favorite things:

Soil Moist is a fantastic product, they're small crystals that expand when you wet them.  They need to be incorporated into the soil when you plant, so if your containers are already in for the season keep this in mind for next year.  Here are a few of the highlights from their website:
•Stores over 200 times its weight in tap water

•Releases a steady supply of water as your plants need it

•Non-toxic, safe and economical to use

•Reduces plant watering by 50%**

•Reduces transplant shock

•Lasts several seasons**

Of course there's always the disclaimer section:
Note: Soil Moist must be incorporated into the soil at the root level of the plant/green good. Do not top dress or place on the surface.

** Results may vary depending on soil conditions such as salt, pH, microorganisms, u-v light

I have used this product for years with great success and I have a TON of happy clients who I've used it for as well.

A few other similar products to check out are Water-Keep and Water Crystals, I haven't used these but the look really similar and may be worth adding to your summer planting list.

This next product is something I recommend if you're going on vacation, but can also be used short-term in containers, the key is water BEFORE you put this in your soil!

Their website does have guide for how many to use per pot, etc, so check it out!

These watering wands from Dramm are amazing.  I have one on both levels of my garden-deck and patio and use them a LOT.  The most effective way to water is to soak the roots thoroughly avoiding the foliage if you can, so these gets the water where it's needed.  It has a nice cushy handle and an easy to use shut-off valve on the handle so you don't have to rush to the hose bib to turn it off.

The other trick for large garden beds is to use soaker hoses, I install mine under the mulch with sod pins to keep them from popping up and you never even see them.  We have used them several times, the trick with these is to water deeply and infrequently.  We may turn ours on for 8 hours once a month (although our garden is established now it's been in 4 years).  This is a great way to minimize water loss through evaporation of normal sprinklers, will save you a lot of time and money and is so much better for your plants!

Whew, thank you for hanging in there with me if you read this whole post!  I know there's a lot of information out there on watering, products, etc., but if you have questions, want to know more or even share your own tips and tricks please do!  I'm happy to help keep your gardens looking great!


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