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Too much water?

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Too much water?

Post  vinny09 on Tue 4 May - 21:52

So I know Mel's Mix cannot be over watered, but I think my boxes have been giving me mixed signals about their moisture. So it's been fairly breezy and warm recently. I've got a drip irrigation set up where the 1/4" emitter lines are 1ft apart and the emitters are 6" apart on the lines. I've been watering every 2 days b/c the top of the mix is dry and crumbly to the touch, so I've just been turning on the irrigation. But I noticed that after about 5min, the ground around the boxes are starting to get wet like the water is just running through the box and not being absorbed by the mix. So today, the tops looked all dry and crusty, so I went and reached down and grabbed handfuls of mix and noticed it was fairly damp. I turned on the drip irrigation just to see how fast the sides of the boxes would get wet again and sure enough, within 5min, the ground was wet again. Most of the plants look normal (at least I think they are), but the basil leaves are starting to turn light brown. Is this a sign of too much water? In reading the SFG book, Mel suggests a ladel of water into the 2" depression at each plant. So am I to believe that the only moist soil should be 2" diameter around each plant? Should I adjust my irrigation to completely saturate the entire box? I figure the way it's set up now, only the area around the plant is getting watered and on breezy days, the tops get all dry and crusty. Thanks!

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Re: Too much water?

Post  Judge Kemp on Tue 4 May - 22:07

You're not alone! I'm struggling with watering too, but I've always found proper watering to be difficult both before and after this first year of SFG. I found my boxes were dry and crumbly on top but more moist throughout on the box I set up yesterday, but more than a little dry throughout on the two other boxes I'd set up a few weeks ago. With all the rain we'd gotten I thought it would be plenty wet. Turns out it seems to have dried rather quickly.

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Re: Too much water?

Post  miinva on Tue 4 May - 22:10

My plan is to use mulch this year, and water every morning like clockwork. On each box I count to ten Very Happy I'm really trying not to stress out about controlling every aspect of the garden, but I'm realizing that I'm a tad bit of a plant control freak! *giggle*

Last year I watered religiously for a month or so, then we really neglected the garden, and we still got food! Knowing that, I'm not as worried about getting it wrong Smile

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Re: Too much water?

Post  boffer on Wed 5 May - 0:18

Here's what has worked for me for nearly five years. All my sfg boxes are tabletops. If the sun is shining in the morning, I use the hose to hand water each box till water starts dripping out. If the sun isn't shining, I don't water. It works for me here in the PNW.

The only exception is when I've planted seeds. I'll water twice a day, every day, to keep them damp because the top layer does dry out quickly.
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Re: Too much water?

Post  Lavender Debs on Wed 5 May - 10:53

@boffer wrote:snip ....The only exception is when I've planted seeds. I'll water twice a day, every day, to keep them damp because the top layer does dry out quickly.
That works for you boff? Do you use the hose to water or do you have a source of warmer water that you sprinkle on? I worry about chilling my seeds too much and avoid watering them after planting on (hopefully) a warmer day. It doesn't seem to take much moisture to get a seed to sprout....but you are saying the chill doesn't hurt them?? I've seen pics of your garden, it must not hurt them at all, I'm just surprised after all the years I thought I had to protect seeds from cold water chill.
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Re: Too much water?

Post  boffer on Wed 5 May - 12:56

Nope-cold water.

It was a September when I put in my in-ground sprinkling system and new lawn from seed. I set the timer for 15 minutes, 3x times a day. It was not an unusually warm Sep. In four days, I was seeing a sheen of green. I've never seen grass grow that fast. Watering three times a day is what the grass seed suppliers recommend, but who in their right minds does that manually, without an automatic sprinkler? I never had. I just took that experience and started using it in the veggie gardens. Truth is, I sometime water seeds three times a day on the rare hot days. It makes me feel good if nothing else!

I know for a fact that warmer soil reduces germination time. But I don't have a clue about the differences in performance between warm water watering and multi-daily cold water watering. It may be one of those personal preference scenarios: I'm happy how it works for me so I haven't thought much about doing it differently.
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