Gardening: water a lot, rarely, or a little, often?

Reply Sat 8 Jun, 2013 03:07 pm
Due to many distractions last summer I didn't get to water our gardens much at all, just enough to allow most of the plants to survive. Because of that I think the strain on them caused some of them to not be able to survive the below freezing temperatures we had this past winter.

This year I'm back to watering regularly and have planted another veggie garden, didn't do that last year because I knew I wouldn't be able to tend to it regularly. The weather has been very windy and in the high 80's low 90's. I water the tomatoes regularly about every 3 to 4 days, deep water, filling the basins 3 or 4 times. The onion sets get deep watered once a week. Lettuce and other leafy veggies get watered daily.

I would have had the first ripe tomato from the garden a couple days ago but the dogs beat me to it. I forgot to put up the temporary fence that keeps them out of the tomatoes. Have to wait another week for another shot at a vine-ripened tomato.

Newly planted vinca ground cover gets watered lightly on a daily basis (to add back some humidity removed by the winds) and deeply once a week along with all the other non-xeric plants in the gardens. Fruit trees get deep watered once a week.

Shade trees in the front and back yards and the xeric plants on the hot side of the house get deep watered about every two weeks.

In July and August, I may bump up the frequency for the trees and xeric plants to once a week too.
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Reply Sat 8 Jun, 2013 05:17 pm
I water well once a week... check on the seedlings early in the season every day or so and give 'em a bit more if they look like they're really wilting, but if not, I just leave them. More water is worse than less water, in my experience. You can easily rot the stems of young plants with too much water, while, with less, they'll look wilty and so on, but as soon as you give them a drink, they perk up.
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Reply Sat 8 Jun, 2013 08:42 pm
I was snotty as I see watering needs differing depending on where you are.

Exactly where you are.

Communicate with local gurus, or, perhaps, the arboretum people..
Reply Fri 5 Jul, 2013 11:10 am
watering needs differing depending on where you are

I agree with you. There is no one size fits all. And, even where you live, watering needs change throughout the summer season.

It also depends on what you are growing. When I've grown tomatoes, I've often had to water them deeply twice a day when the temperatures were very high, particularly the ones I grew in large pots, otherwise they began wilting and showing signs of stress. My next door neighbor, who watered her tomatoes less frequently, had plants with a smaller yield and a shorter production season, even though we bought the same varieties at the same nursery. I think her plants were less hardy because she watered less than an optimal amount.

As a general rule, I believe in watering more deeply, whenever I water, at least deep enough to be sure that the water reaches the roots properly. Light watering, particularly early in the day, may remain mostly on the surface and evaporate off fairly quickly.
Reply Fri 5 Jul, 2013 11:20 am
pot grown tomatoes are a waste of effort cause you, no matter how much you feed and water them, they will never produce the amount of fruit that a ground grown tomato produces.

TWo years ago I had 2 pots (Big ones) of "patio" tomatoes and 2 patio tomatoes grown in a raide bed set on the soil.
The raised bed tomatoes produced over 500 fruits each over the season. The POT grown tomatoes produced 100 on on and 95 on the other. AND THE Quality of the raised bed kind were vastly superior in juiciness and flavor
Reply Fri 5 Jul, 2013 11:40 am
I didn't have the luxury of a raised bed option when I used the large pots for tomatoes--I didn't have the ground space available in an area with enough sun. But I didn't find my pot-grown plants a waste of time or effort, I had loads of delicious tomatoes, both cherry tomatoes and full size varieties, more than enough for us to eat, with enough left to give away to friends.

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Reply Fri 5 Jul, 2013 12:17 pm
I long practiced deep watering when I lived in coastal Los Angeles, which doesn't get tons of rain, though usually a lot all at once when it does rain.
In northern coastal California, we had a lot more rain, so I only watered at all during the dry months, fairly deeply and not too often for grown shrubs, more often for new plants without big rootballs. In both those cities I had terrific soil to start with and also amended.

My "soil" here in New Mexico is simply sand, and very porous. My tactic is to go for native plants or some known hardy shrubs like lavender and rosemary, hardy in that they take heat and our amount of snow and don't need a lot of nursing care, and are quite drought resistant when established (though it seems this year I've tried to kill them with too little water). I should grow veggies in a raised bed system, but am presently too lazy.
Anyway, I don't water as deeply here as it is just pouring it down though the sand wastefully - as I don't add amendments/compost as I used to in other climes. So I water more often, especially in our hot summer time. Otherwise, tough love all the way.
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Reply Tue 22 Sep, 2015 01:29 am
If your garden is planned, prepared, planted and watered properly, you can have a beautiful yard and save thousands in the long run. Here’s how to get the most from your water this summer.
1.Start from the ground up
2.Choose the right plants
3.Prepare plants for drought
4.Water slowly, deeply and infrequently
5.Slow down the runoff
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Reply Sun 28 May, 2017 12:42 pm
Mulch! I water rarely and mulch deeply. I also grow drought resistant varieties of plants.
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Reply Sun 28 May, 2017 01:03 pm
Your pine needles would make good mulch for acid loving plants.
Reply Sun 28 May, 2017 01:15 pm
By the way, welcome to a2k, Buzzbea.
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