Practices: Water You Waiting For?
Several empty containers in different shapes
(yogurt cup, margarine tub, pie tin, large empty jar, small plastic
Watering can full of water
Measuring dish that shows ounces, quarts, liters and gallons
Empty plastic liter bottle
Hose with sprinkler attachment if you have one
As soon as you can get
outside, start teaching the gardeners about water. Besides quality soil, water
is the most important element of a garden - besides the gardeners and the seeds
and plants, of course!
Set out the containers and
demonstrate how you can measure different amounts of water, whether they come
from the watering can or the hose. Use the measuring dish and empty liter
bottle to show them what different quantities of water look like.
Encourage the gardeners to
experiment and estimate: how many yogurt cups full of water does it take to
fill up the large empty jar without spilling over?
Does the watering can full
of water hold more water, or the plastic storage tub?
Use these visual aids to
discuss the importance of making sure garden plants get a consistent supply of
water so that they can grow. Too little, and they may die. Too much, and they
may die, too!
Please resolve, as a club,
to water plants using recycled water from rain barrels, rather than from the
hose, as much as possible. See the article on rain barrels to learn how to recycle
rainwater in this Earth-friendly way.
may fill watering cans from the house or use a hose, if the rain barrels are
points for gardeners to remember when watering include:
1. Water deeply and
infrequently. Deep watering promotes the development of a deep,
extensive root system. Frequent, light watering promotes shallow rooting.
Deep-rooted plants will be able to survive hot, dry weather much better than
shallow-rooted plants because they will be able to reach the moisture deep in
A deep watering once a week should be adequate for fruit, vegetable, and flower
gardens. Apply approximately 1 inch of water per week.
2. Water efficiently. Mornings
and evenings are excellent times to water gardens. Water directly at the plant
roots, and avoid getting the leaves wet when possible.
3. Mulch plants to
conserve soil moisture. Mulching reduces the rate of
evaporation from the soil surface and also limits weed competition. Organic
materials, such as grass clippings, straw, and shredded leaves are excellent
mulches for the vegetable garden. Wood chips, bark, and ground corncobs are
good choices for perennial beds and trees and shrubs. The depth of the mulch
depends on the type of material used and crop. Optimum depth in the vegetable
garden ranges from 2 to 3 inches for fine materials, such as grass clippings,
to 6 to 8 inches for straw.
Average plant watering
needs (once plants are established):
weekly, ½ cup per plant; twice weekly in very hot weather; #; ##
weekly, ¼ cup per plant; need constant moisture until mature
weekly, 1-2 cups per plant; twice weekly in very hot weather
weekly, 1 cup per plant; twice weekly in hot weather
weekly, 2 cups per plant; twice weekly in hot weather; #; ##
weekly, 2 cups per plant; twice weekly in hot weather, #
weekly, 1 cup per plant, twice weekly in hot weather, ##, do not water at night
weekly, 1 cup water per plant; #
weekly, 1 cup per plant when young, 2 or more cups when larger, ##
weekly, 1 gallon per plant; twice weekly in very hot weather; ##
Zucchini /Summer Squash:
weekly, 2-4 cups per plant depending on size, twice weekly in hot weather; ##
# Do not let the soil dry out
## Keep water off the plant leaves (can lead to fungus, infection, mildew,