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How Much Water per Square?

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How Much Water per Square?

Post  Cincinnati on 4/22/2012, 11:42 pm

I realize that this question is dependent on a lot of factors, including plant type, size, and climate.

I'm just trying to get an idea on how much water you are using? I have 72 squares of various plants. It's in the lower 80's here. I water by hand. I progressively increased watering to about 1 qt/sq every other day. Sometimes I divide that into 2 watering per day for things like lettuce.

Once the small plants were established, I started out watering that amount per day. Some of you may have read my previous post: "Water is sucking the fun out of gardening". Excess water was draining through the MM. I'm now letting my MM nearly dry out before watering.

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Re: How Much Water per Square?

Post  cheyannarach on 4/23/2012, 1:02 am

I would never let the MM dry out, it is soooo hard to get saturated to begin with. In Mel's own words you can never overwater this mix.
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Re: How Much Water per Square?

Post  givvmistamps on 4/23/2012, 10:49 am

It's really best to make sure that the mix doesn't get too dry; watching for wilting means your plants could be damaged and that will decrease their productivity. On the other hand, over-watering is possible with any soil, even Mel's Mix. You don't want to wash out all the oxygen and nutrients. You probably don't need to water to the point where water is coming out the bottom of the box.

Best thing is to test the soil, either using your finger or a moisture meter you can find in most gardening stores. You can poke your finger down as deep as it'll go near the plant but not so close as to damage roots, then backfill, without causing any problems. If the top forms a crust, it can help the lower portion hold moisture...but I've found that once the top crust starts cracking then watering is usually in order.

If the soil feels moist in the evening, wait until morning; if it will be a hot day, water more heavily in the morning. It's been my experience that one watering a day is best, but when it gets closer to the 90s I will sometimes give a brief evening sprinkle to the soil...just enough to fully wet the top layer again and get the plants through until the next day. Plants don't use or need nearly as much water at night because they're not performing photosynthesis.
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Re: How Much Water per Square?

Post  Cincinnati on 4/23/2012, 12:42 pm

@cheyannarach wrote:I would never let the MM dry out, it is soooo hard to get saturated to begin with. In Mel's own words you can never overwater this mix.

I agree with not letting it dry out totally. I'll have to test on the new Square how long it takes to saturate. I don't believe I am having an issue saturating it.

I have not seen Mel's quote. If that's his stance, I'm betting his premise is you are batch watering by hand once in a while. I seem to remember him saying SQFT gardening conserved water b/c the ingredients are hygroscopic.

I agree that because of the properties of MM, excess water drains through the bed quickly. Now that I am up to 8 beds plus other containers and traditional gardens, I am looking for ways to decrease my watering time.

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Re: How Much Water per Square?

Post  cheyannarach on 4/25/2012, 12:04 am

What about a soaker hose? I think the difference between Mel and most people is that he has a lot more time to watch and hand water than a lot of us do. Has it gotten any better yet?
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Re: How Much Water per Square?

Post  Cincinnati on 4/25/2012, 7:45 am

@cheyannarach wrote:What about a soaker hose? I think the difference between Mel and most people is that he has a lot more time to watch and hand water than a lot of us do. Has it gotten any better yet?

Yes. It got better in that I now water many things every other day. My MM is not completely drying out. The deepest MM is still slightly moist.

I plan on adding a gravity feed barrel and the grid watering system at some point.

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Re: How Much Water per Square?

Post  walshevak on 4/25/2012, 8:11 am

Another thing to consider is the amount of vegitation you are having to keep watered. I found that as my plants got bigger, they needed more water. We had a water sucking, climbing upo (edible gourd) in one of the pond beds last year and it was sucking down all the water daily. The other beds only needed filling every other day in the hottest, dryest weather. But the non pond beds needed water twice a day when fully grown plants met hot, dry weather.

Kay

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Re: How Much Water per Square?

Post  Cincinnati on 4/25/2012, 9:27 am

@walshevak wrote:Another thing to consider is the amount of vegitation you are having to keep watered. I found that as my plants got bigger, they needed more water. We had a water sucking, climbing upo (edible gourd) in one of the pond beds last year and it was sucking down all the water daily. The other beds only needed filling every other day in the hottest, dryest weather. But the non pond beds needed water twice a day when fully grown plants met hot, dry weather.

Kay
YEP. Bigger plants need more water than smaller ones. Tomatoes require more as the trusses develop and fruit forms. I've got 2 plants in each of several Earthboxes (Closed watering system) so I know how much each pair of plants is using. I filled the reservoirs Sunday morning. On Monday Afternoon I added about 6 quarts of water to the box that has the two oldest plants (5 feet tall with about 5 trusses). That's 3 quarts/plant in 30 hours with the temps in upper 70's and nights at mid 50's. There is very diminished propensity for evaporation in that system. It seems like a lot of water for a plant to uptake.

I'm putting about 1-2 quarts per plant in my SQFT every day or so. Obviously some of that may be draining through to the soil underneath.

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