When the Plants Are Thirsty...
By Sherry & Terry on June 23, 2009 at 1:59 PMNow that most, if not all, of your garden is planted, It's time to think about whether you need to water and how you are going to do it. Since Terry and I use heavy mulching with grass clippings for both our veggie and flower gardens, we don't spend too much time watering but we do some watering if the plants look droopy.
When the weather gets hot with continuous blistering sunshine, watering can be necessary. We usually water early morning so that any moisture sitting on leaves and foliage has time to evaporate during the day. Moisture pooling on leaves can become ideal breeding grounds for plant diseases.
There are many ways that we bring moisture to our garden. Sometimes we use a soaker hose. This is a long garden hose that has tiny holes all over and the water drips slowly as droplets into the soil. The hose is placed along the base of our plant row (usually corn) and is left on for half a day until the soil becomes thoroughly moistened.
Sometimes we connect three hoses end to end and run the water ever so slowly for our cucumbers. Terry feels watering this way lets the tap water warm up slightly as it travels the full length of the hoses and is meant to be less of a cold water shock to the plants.
Our most favoured way to water is using rain barrels. We purchased two rain barrels from the City of Vancouver Recycling Depot six years ago. Vancouver subsidizes their barrel price of $60 for its citizens so my sister who lives in an apartment in Kitsilano kindly acted as our go-between. We were then able to implement a more environmental approach to watering.
We placed our barrels under the downspouts of our home and in no time, they were full. During dry spells, we would need to fill them using tap water. By the time the local mountains' water gets to the flatlands of Richmond, our city has to add chlorine to ensure the water has no harmful water-borne bacteria living in it. The filled barrel water is left at least a day so that the chlorine can evaporate and its temperature can warm up. We also have a few large plastic garbage cans and big buckets available in the garden, if needed.
If you are a do-it-yourself-er, here is a Home and Garden TV segment on how to make your own water barrel. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGFDlkJOdaM
If you are reading this blog from the US states of Utah, Colorado or Washington, there are laws preventing you from using water barrels. Strange, but true!