Dealing with irrigation
Current weather patterns mean keeping gardens watered hasn’t been a problem.
Things will change when dryer conditions prevail.
Effective watering is more than simply connecting a hose and sprinkler system to a tap and turning it on.
Although that works to a point, it can also cause problems. For instance, running irrigation for any period of time will wash away nutrients applied to feed the gardens.
Using a hand-held watering wand instead to apply a sufficient amount of water to moisten the soil, will enhance any provided nutrients and waste none. Be aware that chlorinated tap water contains a chemical that will kill beneficial soil bacteria and devastate the earthworm population.
If will also kill the microbes living on foliage which help protect the plant from leaf diseases.
The solution is to attach a 10 micron carbon bonded filter to the garden tap.
This will remove the chlorine from 16,000 litres of water.
The best time to water is first thing in the morning. This will help combat any water stress brought on later by the heat of the day.
‘‘Effective watering is more than simply connecting a hose and sprinkler system to a tap and turning it on.’’
If watering becomes necessary during a hot sunny day, make sure it’s the soil being watered and not the foliage.
Water droplets can magnify the sun’s rays and burn bits of the leaves. Use either a hand-held wand, a drip irrigation system or the good old soak hose.
Using a watering wand means gardeners can routinely check plants for problems.
Aphids, leaf hoppers, scale, mealy bugs, white fly, psyllids, and vegetable bugs can be spotted during watering rounds.
Some insect pests can be squashed, while weeds can also be dealt with.
A jet of water can be used to blast insect pests from the leaves of established plants, shrubs and trees.
Repeating this a few times could alleviate the need to spray. Growing vegetables in rows means there can be furrows between them which can be flooded with water.
This moisture goes directly to the root systems, reducing moisture losses from evaporation. Manures and other goodies can also be sprinkled along the furrows. To further reduce any moisture loss, use mulches to cover wet soil. Second best irrigation option is later in the evening.
The disadvantage here is when nighttime temperatures drop, this moisture can lead to mildews, especially if susceptible plants such as peas, pumpkins and pansies are growing closely together.
Only give the soil and plants sufficient moisture to get them through the next day till the following evening.
On hot sunny days make sure container plants get a thorough soaking. Hanging baskets should be plunged into a tub of water once a week and watered normally on the other days. Allow garden soil or container mix to become too dry and surface tension will cause water to run off instead of soaking in.
To break this surface tension, lather up dishwashing liquid in a container of warm water and apply over the dry areas.
It’s also good for treating dry spots in lawns. Problems ring me 357 0606 Email: email@example.com Web site: www.gardenews.co.nz
Not all water is created equal nor are all watering methods.