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How much do I water my summer crops?

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How much do I water my summer crops?

Post  kirkr44@aol.com on 5/31/2010, 8:34 am

I planted my summer crops last week, and they look horrible.
I thought it was the high winds and heat, but then I realized that they were not getting enought water. So How much do I water them, and shouldnt I be cautious of watering during the heat of the day?
whats the best way to keep the soil moist? Mulch?
thanks

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Re: How much do I water my summer crops?

Post  camprn on 5/31/2010, 9:10 am

Please post your location. Water in the morning and evening, if your conditions warrant it. Try to not water the foliage in the morning. When you put your your plants in the garden, did you create a small well (a depression around the plant) in the mix/soil? I would suggest that if you did not, please do this, make the well around each plant about an inch deep and an inch or so wide from the plant stalk. Each time I water, I will want to fill the well once or twice. This will help get the water where it is needed the most, to the root systems of the individual plants. Additionally it will help to reduce water usage. Go ahead and stick you finger in the soil and see how dry it is and if the soil is dry just below the surface, give those babies a good drink . Mulch is a good idea if it is very hot, it will help retain moisture in the ground. I don't apply mulch until my plants are well established. Just my $0.02.
this image from tinybogfarm.com
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South Dakota

Post  kirkr44@aol.com on 5/31/2010, 10:59 pm

thanks for your reply. Yes I did create a depression around the plant, and that seemed to work out great. Thank you for your response, I was confused about how often and what times to water the plants, because I have read you can burn the plants by watering in the afternoon sun.

I did apply some mulch this evening after I watered I hope thats going to work.
thank you
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Re: How much do I water my summer crops?

Post  miinva on 6/1/2010, 9:06 am

I would caution you against watering in the afternoon if you have slugs. When it rains a lot here in Virginia the slugs come out in droves, so I water in the morning so that the soil isn't moist for them when night falls.

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Re: How much do I water my summer crops?

Post  mckr3441 on 6/1/2010, 1:15 pm

Hi Kirk. Welcome to the SFG forums and the Northern and Central Midwest Forum in particular.

How much/how often to water has always been my question too. I assume you are doing Square Foot Gardening using Mel's Mix, not row gardening in local soil. If that is so you probably have a lot of peat moss and vermiculite in your mix.

I find that the peat moss does not get thouroughly soaked until I have watered extensively. Once it has dried out (which I try not to let it do) the water will run right through the soil very quickly but not really get it wet right away. If I water and it does run through quickly I know my deeper soil is probably dry.

Camprn has given you good advice about a well around each plant. I water early every morning. I put on water until the soil seems to start to puddle just a little. Then I know the peat and vermiculite have soaked up all it can. Then whatever water is not needed will drain off.

The mix we use is like a sponge. It takes a little while before the sponge get saturated. Then, when it can't hold any more, the rest just drains off. Just like you can't overwater a sponge, neither can you overwater Mel's Mix if it is mixed properly.

I hope this helps.

Claire
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thanks claire for your help

Post  kirkr44@aol.com on 6/2/2010, 11:34 am

I appreciate people like you that take the time to read our questions, and then answer them. This is my third year gardening and my first year trying the SQ foot gardening. Yes I am using mels mix. I did put some cedar mulch over the saucer like depression that way the water still goes to the roots, but doesnt dry up as fast. Is that ok to use mulch, because I dont hear or see anybody else using it. However, in the back of Mels book for the detailed instructions for each individual plant, it says to mulch most of what I have. thanks
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How muc water?

Post  GloriaG on 6/2/2010, 11:46 am

I'm also having a problem with watering - but it seems to be the opposite of kirkr44. My garden holds water for days.

Originally, I was watering daily and found that the plants were way too wet. My beans got leggy and everything was pale green. Now I'm watering about twice a week - even in the Texas heat and everything looks better. I guess the Mels Mix really works.

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Re: How much do I water my summer crops?

Post  mckr3441 on 6/2/2010, 1:48 pm

Kirk, yes mulching is a good thing. It keeps the moisture from evaporating from the top. I'm not familiar with cedar mulch, however. I wouldn't use anything that is too (I can't think of the word!!!! -- clunky) Something finer might be good like some ground up dried leaves could be used.

I'm also assuming your garden has good drainage.

Gloria, yes the Mix does really work. You have to get it really wet first then it will hold for a good length of time. Again, I am basing that on the fact the you have good drainage under your boxes.

Hope this helps.

Glad to have you on the forum asking such good questions. Everyone has questions/experiences like this and all can benefit from input also based on different experiences.

Happy gardening day.

Claire
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Re: How much do I water my summer crops?

Post  camprn on 6/2/2010, 5:50 pm

@kirkr44@aol.com wrote: I did put some cedar mulch over the saucer like depression that way the water still goes to the roots, but doesnt dry up as fast. Is that ok to use mulch, because I dont hear or see anybody else using it. thanks
Kirk
Hi again, The cedar is lovely mulch; shredded bark mulch is my preference and I too fill the well around the plants and then I will spread a thin layer over the rest of the garden surface. I do not use wood chips for mulch unless it is on an area that is not going to be growing anything, such as a path. As to watering the standard recommendation is about 1-2 inches of water a week, but that will certainly vary on your location and conditions.
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