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Watering my SFG

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Watering my SFG

Post  supermixx on 5/16/2012, 1:11 am

Hello!

I can only find things like, "you can't over water your SFG" when I search for topics about watering the SFG.

We have a 5' SFG on our porch (1x5) which I am growing with my boys. Everything looks fine, but one of my neighbors remarked, "Oh, your going to over-water your plants," because the boys water for about 5 min or so every day.

i haven't seen any drainage yet, though we drilled drainage holes in the bottom.

I just read the post from "undertheblackwalnut' about relaxing, and learning with your garden, but I am still super anxious about killing everything this first year, because I want to hook my children on the idea and rewards of gardening (we are very Cityfied, and proud, but I want to teach respect for the power of growing things).

We started with plants (except for the carrots) because we are so late in the season, and to give them something to observe sooner than later.

So, here it is: are we overwatering? Under-watering? Just fine?

The plants get 4-6 hours of direct sunlight, and growing, and will get 3-4 in the waning hours of fall, starting in in September (the porch rail they are built on is East facing.) See the attached photo, and feedback-at-will.

I have tomatoes and marigolds, bush beans and strawberries, marigolds and carrot seeds, and a watermelon plant or three ( can't tell if they cluster or if its the same plant; I'm new.)

Thanks; I was afraid I would be ridiculed for not knowing what I am doing, so I hope this finds friendly, encouraging ears :-)

- Supermixx

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also

Post  supermixx on 5/16/2012, 1:14 am

I guess I'm asking if we should water until we see drainage? And is daily 'too much' watering?

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Re: Watering my SFG

Post  kittykat on 5/16/2012, 1:58 am

I'm gonna post a reply - just so you're not lonely... but I'm new to SFG myself, so please any veterans, feel free to veto my answer and give a more experienced one...

But - I'd say to do the stick-your-finger-in-the-dirt test... See how the Mel's mix feels... does it feel dry? moist? soggy? Learning about your mix and your garden location/sunlight hours and climate is all part of the process.

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Re: Watering my SFG

Post  FamilyGardening on 5/16/2012, 2:18 am

thats how we test our soil/MM.....stick your finger in it Very Happy about two inch's in or more....kinda like when you check to see if a cake is done....you stick a tooth pick in....if it comes out clean then the cake is done.....same way with soil....if your finger comes out clean then its time to water....if your finger comes out with nice moist soil/MM on it then its fine......you can also keep an eye on your plants....going out every day to take a peak and enjoy the progress will help you to learn if they are in need of something.....they will let you know...by color....by leaves drooping...if there is a pest problem......stuff like that...
by the way....your plants look great!!....love the box you made!....your kids will have fun learning to garden!!....just be prepared for them to want and pull up carrots before they are ready!.....(thats what our kids do Laughing )

hugs

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Re: Watering my SFG

Post  littlesapphire on 5/16/2012, 8:43 am

In the heat of the summer, I have to water my garden boxes every single day because the MM is very quick to dry out because it drains so easily! I would say, if your MM feels moist when you go out to water it, don't water it that day. Wait until the top is starting to feel or look a little dry first. You most likely can't overwater your plants if you gave them proper drainage holes, but there are other reasons for not watering if you don't need to. Not only will you save on your water bill, but you'll also prevent vital nutrients in your MM from washing away.

Good luck!

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Re: Watering my SFG

Post  TN_GARDENER on 5/16/2012, 9:07 am

@supermixx wrote:I guess I'm asking if we should water until we see drainage? And is daily 'too much' watering?

1. Looks like your box might be shaded on the porch. If so, you probably won't water as much as if it weren't shaded.

2. If/when you do water, I'd try to not get the leaves wet (especially if they are in the shade).

3. The larger plants (especially the watermelon) will need more water than the smaller plants.

Although you might not be able to over water them, I'd still make sure to not "kill them with kindness" by over watering the young plants in May. Come July, if/when they grow larger and the weather gets warmer, you might find that they do need more water. From what I can see in your photo, they don't seem as if they are being under-watered right now.

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Re: Watering my SFG

Post  AnnD on 5/16/2012, 12:37 pm

I'm keen but clueless and a complete beginner so I can't give advice, but wanted to say that your boxes and plants look wonderful!! congratulations!Very Happy

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Follow up to Watering Question

Post  supermixx on 5/16/2012, 8:53 pm

Thank you for the feedback!

It is my first attempt at a planter; encouraged by some of the planters I've seen on here.

I also read post about not really gardening if you don't kill something, but--I don't wanna!

I checked the soil (finger test), and indeed, it was a bit dry. I am also going to check my weep holes I drilled; only the edges on the ends of the box weep properly.

Besides that--we'll see! I'll try to post pictures as things develop; I think some of my plants already have yellowing leaves, so I need to get on it researching what that means (I don't remember if they were all full green, or if that is just a convenient memory to address my anxiety) or not.

I am pretty sure they get direct sunlight from around 8am until 2. I will verify this Saturday.

Thanks again for your help and encouraging words!

- supermixx

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Re: Watering my SFG

Post  quiltbea on 5/16/2012, 10:44 pm

I agree about not watering unless they need it. The plants have to dry out a bit to take up oxygen, which is also very necessary to them.

Yellowing can be caused by too much or too little watering. If the leaves look a little wilted, then they probably need a little more water. Lower leaves often turn yellow as they grow and you can pinch those off. Its just the aging process.

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Re: Watering my SFG

Post  dvelten on 5/16/2012, 11:07 pm

Just a coment about your drain holes. Mel's Mix is very absorbent, like a sponge. When you water, most of it should be absorbed by the MM. If you aren't getting a lot of drainage from the holes, then you are probably not overwatering. As QB says, plant roots need oxygen as much as they need water, and it is definitely possible to overwater as I did last year with my peppers and beans (my first year with SFG). They had an overall yellowing of leaves which improved once I let them dry out (and started using the ol' finger test). A few yellow leaves at the bottom of the plant is nothing to worry about.

--Dave

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Re: Watering my SFG

Post  vee on 5/17/2012, 12:43 am

That is such a neat adaptive box you have made.

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Re: Watering my SFG

Post  supermixx on 5/19/2012, 4:07 am

@vee wrote:That is such a neat adaptive box you have made.

Thank you!

I was winging it, really. Glad it turned out well enough to earn some attention!

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Re: Watering my SFG

Post  supermixx on 5/19/2012, 4:09 am

@quiltbea wrote:I agree about not watering unless they need it. The plants have to dry out a bit to take up oxygen, which is also very necessary to them.

Yellowing can be caused by too much or too little watering. If the leaves look a little wilted, then they probably need a little more water. Lower leaves often turn yellow as they grow and you can pinch those off. Its just the aging process.

K...letting it dry out; haven't watered as much since using the finger test, either! ;-)

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Plants dying. HELP!!

Post  supermixx on 6/15/2012, 5:14 pm

I'm gonna post some pictures I just took.

Not a whole three weeks ago, we were humming along, my bush bean had several flowers and a few baby pods, my tomato plants were flowering, everything was humming along.

then one day, almost all my marigold flowers looked like they were cut off at the bud. They have been wilting, but that day, just gone.

I thought, "birds." And moved on.

a few days later, my bush bean plants started to get yellow leaves. A few days after that, they started falling off. No biggie, i thought, none of those stems/plants had pods.

Then my pods stopped growing, and started turning yellow.

Today, I noticed one pod is completely yellow and shriveled. I also noticed my strawberry plant lost a whole stem (it hadn't been producing any flowers, so I initially thought the maroon tinting of the leaves was a byproduct of that), and the other stem has red tinged leaves at top.

Also noticed yellowing and orange-ing going on on the bottom of my tomato plants, and one plant has it's stem turning maroon.

Disease?

Parasite?

check the pics and offer advice?









Last edited by supermixx on 6/15/2012, 5:24 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : forgot how to add images)

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Re: Watering my SFG

Post  camprn on 6/15/2012, 7:42 pm

Oh my goodness! Yes your plants are in distress. They need to be fed. Top dress with homemade compost if you have it, OR compost tea once a week until you see improvement, OR a liquid balanced fertilizer.
What did you use to make your 5 way compost blend when you made Mel's Mix? How often are you watering?

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Man...I am sooo out of my element

Post  supermixx on 6/15/2012, 8:11 pm

@camprn wrote:OR compost tea once a week[/u] until you see improvement, OR a liquid balanced fertilizer.
What did you use to make your 5 way compost blend when you made Mel's Mix? How often are you watering?

I used 1/3 Manure, 1/3 Peat Moss, 1/3 Vermiculite.

My boys water (with a strictly regulated watering pot (about 1/4), one per square foot, once a day.

I am using a watered down manure tea; good enough?

If not, can I get an example of a "balanced fertilizer?"

Since things were humming along just fine, does this mean the soil is now completely depleted of nutrients?

I think my Marigolds are done; are they normally a good indicator of a problem? Is that their "companion" job? Or do they do something besides look good in the box?

I am about as green as they get (or, not green in this case), so no answer will be taken as an insult; I truly don't know what to do, and i want the boys to have a pleasant (I get that killing these plants might be a good experience, but it certainly is not a desired one) urban gardening experience.

Thanks!

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Re: Watering my SFG

Post  camprn on 6/15/2012, 8:44 pm

I would suggest holding the manure tea for now.

I think the marigolds may perk back up.

I think at this point if you do not have your own made compost that is not plain manure, go to the garden store and ask them for some advice. You have to feed the plants something other than the manure tea or they will die. Do not take advice at a big box store. You could try Garden Tone; follow the label directions. It is mellow and will absolutely help.

GardenTone<~~~ click

Fertilizer comes with numbers on it, the Garden Tone is 3-4-4.
The first number always represents nitrogen, the second is phosphorus, the third is potassium (potash). Fundamental elements required for good plant growth known as N P K.

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There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t1306-other-gardening-books

Outlander is outstanding!


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Re: Watering my SFG

Post  supermixx on 6/15/2012, 11:56 pm

@camprn wrote:I would suggest holding the manure tea for now.

I think the marigolds may perk back up.

I think at this point if you do not have your own made compost that is not plain manure, go to the garden store and ask them for some advice. You have to feed the plants something other than the manure tea or they will die. Do not take advice at a big box store. You could try Garden Tone; follow the label directions. It is mellow and will absolutely help.

GardenTone<~~~ click

Fertilizer comes with numbers on it, the Garden Tone is 3-4-4.
The first number always represents nitrogen, the second is phosphorus, the third is potassium (potash). Fundamental elements required for good plant growth known as N P K.

Got it, got it, and--got it.

Thank you; hopefully I can post recovery pics in a few weeks!

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Re: Watering my SFG

Post  camprn on 6/16/2012, 6:29 am

@supermixx wrote:
@camprn wrote:I would suggest holding the manure tea for now.

I think the marigolds may perk back up.

I think at this point if you do not have your own made compost that is not plain manure, go to the garden store and ask them for some advice. You have to feed the plants something other than the manure tea or they will die. Do not take advice at a big box store. You could try Garden Tone; follow the label directions. It is mellow and will absolutely help.

GardenTone<~~~ click

Fertilizer comes with numbers on it, the Garden Tone is 3-4-4.
The first number always represents nitrogen, the second is phosphorus, the third is potassium (potash). Fundamental elements required for good plant growth known as N P K.

Got it, got it, and--got it.

Thank you; hopefully I can post recovery pics in a few weeks!
oooooh, I just re-read this, sorry for sounding bossy. Embarassed Very Happy I hope your garden perks up soon!

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Sound Bossy?

Post  supermixx on 6/17/2012, 3:56 am

Man...I'm old school: you sound knowledgeable, in an area I am not. Saul Goode. I dutifully went to my local small garden center, and bought some Tomato Tone 3-4-6, that was the closest they had--and most of the plants I am worrying about are tomatoes.

I was just geeked there was an answer beside, "Oh, they're diseased, and theree's nothing you can do." --possibly premature, but, soooo in the spirit of how I feel to find that there is a possible answer!

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Re: Watering my SFG

Post  meatburner on 11/21/2012, 5:52 pm

Did your plants recover? Was just searching the watering threads and came across this one. Just curious. Tks

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Re: Watering my SFG

Post  toledobend on 11/23/2012, 3:53 pm

My planter type boxes are fairly new (but seem to be doing great). I laid down weed cloth first because I was concerned about the holes plugging up. I have a boat with a 1" drain that got plugged up just with some leaves. Plus I had an Earth Box a few years ago whose drain hole got plugged up with the dirt and I flooded it before I found out.

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Re: Watering my SFG

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