It’s summer and it’s nuclear hot. I’ve worked out in the weather for years and while you may think 100 degrees is hot, to me, it’s just a 100 degree day. I generally don’t feel it until it reaches above 105. Somewhere between 100 and 110 it all feels the same.
In 100 degree weather what could possibly go wrong in your garden? Too much water? Not enough water? Nine times out of ten most problems in a summer garden are simply from not enough water. So, let me give you some tips.
Watering a vegetable garden. Let’s just start there.
If your vegetables are in containers it’s safe to say you will probably need to water them every day.
Watering vegetables two or three times a week can encourage deep root growth if they are in the ground. How much? An inch or so. If you have a sprinkler system the way to measure is to put a cup in the garden and don’t stop watering until it’s collected an inch.
If you’re going to water by hand with a nozzle, water gently like a shower. What I do is I wet the surface and move on and return several times to assure the water is soaking in.
It’s good to avoid watering plant leaves. If you’re using a sprinkler it’s obviously impossible to keep leaves from getting wet. Diseases thrive on moist leaves so water early and the foliage will dry quickly to minimize the risk of disease or sun burn.
So many people have told me they hate bark. I get it, but it does help to keep moisture in the soil.
Every garden has an indicator plant. I look at gardens as energy. It’s something I never really had to teach myself. It’s just something I could see. Call me crazy. Let me help you see it.
Can you see energy or lack of it on the hydrangea on the left? So, here’s the funny thing. This plant you could say is an indicator plant. Meaning it tells you when the garden needs water. An indicator plant can be droopy leaves, sad flowers, or general wilting. In the case of this hydrangea, it can fool you into thinking that you need to water it. Sneaky plant.
Here is the sneaky plant one hour later. I’m not joking. Hydrangeas are big drama queens. Not only was the sun passing over which created the problem, but sometimes plants sweat. I call it afternoon wilt. So, my advice is to get on your hands and knees, dig in the soil and check it.
An easy way to check if hanging baskets need water is to check their weight. If they’re heavy they’re wet. If they’re light they’re dry.
Can we talk tomatoes for a minute? Talk about drama queens. Tomatoes can experience huge fluctuations between dry and wet conditions. They’re prone to blossom drop and rot. Blossom rot appears as black lesions on the base of tomatoes. You can avoid this by keeping plants evenly moist. This allows your tomato food with calcium to be absorbed. Why calcium? Strong stems. That’s why.
When there is an event in the garden such as a dead plant or dry spot in the lawn, just know it is never about yesterday or today. Think back two or three weeks to an event that could have happened. A stuck sprinkler valve, an irrigation system that did not water properly, or high, hot winds. There’s usually something that happened a few weeks back. So don’t panic. Simply apply water and pull the plant back to life. Putting a slow drip hose on a brown spot on the lawn will help turn it around as well.
Can we talk about Japanese Maples? Lack of water, heat and wind will dry the leaves. Surely you’ve experienced this. A slow drip by a hose to deep water will help assure the tree will not pass away. What is the indicator that your tree will be okay? Simply look at the tips of the branches and make sure the buds are still green. If they are, you’re golden.
Great Summer Flowers
Looking for a great summer flower that requires less water and is forever faithful? Echinaceas and Rudbeckias. They come in many colors and will bloom throughout the summer. They are outstanding cut flowers and, if cared for properly, they are cut and come again. Cut the flowers off, you’ll get more. They are fiercely faithful. Like most great plants, they go dormant in the winter and come busting back up year after year. They are truly a great perennial. We grow many varieties at High-Hand Nursery and now is a great time to see them.
Spend enough time to notice the small things. Notice Nature’s energy. It’s a sign that things are healthy and alive. It will also warn you when they’re not so that you can correct it. This is a hummingbird taking nectar from a plant called Salvia ‘Amistad’ at Maple Rock Gardens, another great perennial for the garden.
So, there you go. A few tips and tricks on watering. Watch out for your garden drama queens. They’ll trick you. Walk your garden and see if you notice energy. Over time you’ll get the hang of it.
The baby Robins made it out of the nest. Floppy, crash landing and all. I am not going to return their cleaning deposit. So fun to watch.
Don’t forget about Train Day. I’ll keep reminding you.
Train Day is a Maple Rock exclusive. Who doesn’t like trains? Tickets can be purchased by clicking here, at the nursery or at Maple Rock on the day of the event. All aboard for Train Day.
Knowing how much to water your garden is not a science. Each garden has it’s own personality and you have to take the time to learn it. Seeing the energy of your garden will help give you insights into the rhythms.
Have a glass of wine. It will help you see it better.
See you at High-Hand Nursery.