Summer Watering Tips

Use the Right Pots

Choose pots that are better at keeping moisture. Clay pots are very porous and they leach water away from the roots. Metal pots heat up quickly in the sun which also causes evaporation. Pots like plastic and glazed clay are better at moisture retention. You can also group your pots together to create a micro-climate. Each pot can shade the other helping in moisture loss. If it helps you can also put plastic pots inside of porous pots to coordinate your outdoor colour space while still having the benefits of moisture retention.

Irrigate Effectively

If you use an automated system ensure that you are deep watering less often. A couple of short sprinkles may make you feel like things have been watered but far to often this water is trapped on leaves and evaporates quickly. You want to get a deep soak. Also, override your timer when it has or is going to rain. This will save you dollars in the long run by not over-watering. If possible when using an automated system to use drip lines keeping water close to the soil.

Be Efficient

You can selectively water your plants by watering by hand. Firstly, you can visually decide if the plant needs watering and water only the plants that need it. If you can't tell by looking at the plant itself you can check soil moisture with your finger. If it's cool and damp move along and catch it when it does need water.

Water Carefully

When watering by hand carefully aim the flow of your water at the base of the plant where it can easily be absorbed by the roots. Rule of thumb with containers is to water the pot, not the plant. This will also keep the foliage dry and encourage deeper, extensive and healthy root systems. A really good soaking is much better than a few short sprinkles more periodically.

Water at the Right Time

Watering in the morning gives the plant time to take up water before the heat of the day evaporates it. This allows the plant to take up as much moisture as possible. Also watering in the morning gives leaves that have been moistened time to dry and which can prevent the dangers of slugs and diseases.

Lock in Water

You can trap water in plastic pots. Sink them in beside some of you bigger more needy plants. Plant the pots up to the rim to make mini reservoirs that will drain slowly through the pre-made drainage holes. This doubles as a root feeder. Great for heavy drinkers like tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini and squash.

Eradicate Weeds

Weeds take up a lot of extra moisture and nutrients. Stay on top and weed regularly. It doesn't take long for weeds to get out of hand or grow too large to be managed easily. When weeding try and get as much root as possible, often you will find that weeds come out by the roots quite easily after a deep watering.

Supplement Your Soil

You can help your pots stay moist longer by adding organic material to them. Materials that retain water are great for your containers and there are many ways you can do it. You can add Zeolite which increases drainage and holds moisture and nutrients that plants can access in times of drought or when they need extra nutrients. You can add wool pellets that retain moisture and break down over time as a fertilizer. You can also add coconut coir or coconut coir compost. Coconut husk is a by-product so it's ecological and used often in the garden for its moisture retaining properties.

Add Mulch

If your containers are already planted you can certainly add mulch on top which will help the container retain moisture. Course materials like bark chips let water easily pass through into the soil but retain much of it. Mulch isn't the only thing you can use to retain moisture. You can use landscape fabric, pebbles, stones, or even just a material heavy in compost.

Store Rainwater

Collect your rainwater. In these days of rising water costs, you can combat these charges by adding rain barrels to your garden. For plants that you are not going to be eating, anything that drains from roofing is appropriate. Place your barrels close to where you can use it. Near perennial beds or trees or whatever you can use rainwater on. A good rain barrel will come with fittings so you can easily attach a hose and or connect them together. This is important because you can't always station your rain barrel exactly where you need it.

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