Watering Part 2 – Give your soil the finger and watch those tomatoes…

hand_print_in_the_sand_198613After you’ve tried some rules of thumb, you can give your soil the finger…really. What I mean is the best way to know if your watering is working is to stick your fingers in the soil. I am often surprised when I do this that while the soil looks dry on the surface, it’s moist underneath. As long as there is moisture where the roots of the plants are, you’ve probably got it about right.

There’s been some debate at home base about how much water the blueberry and strawberry plants need, so when I wrote the previous post I had went and checked one of our garden beds, stuck my finger in the soil and found that it’s still a bit too dry – the soil was dry to about 2 knuckles deep and then got cool but not moist after that. So given the strawberries are shallow rooted and the blueberries are new we’re going to adjust the timing of the watering and the debate, I mean experiment, will continue 🙂

I also find in Summer that watching the tomato plants is a good way to know how well the watering is working and if there is enough water – tomatoes need plenty of regular water to thrive. So if they’re standing tall and the fruit is swelling then watering is probably working, if the plants are limp or the fruit is growing slowly then maybe the water isn’t right.

The moral of the watering story is to figure out what works best for you and your veg patch. I’m really not interested in hand watering and I like the flexibility of having drip irrigation so I can go away and know the veggies will still get watered. This is why we’ve put irrigation in the #upcycle veg patch but it hasn’t been smooth sailing. In sorting out the watering we have probably lost a month’s worth of produce this season because there wasn’t enough hose in (that’s where the dripper hose every 30cm rule in the previous post comes from), we reused second hand materials and some of the hoses didn’t work properly etc etc. So it’s taken us a few weeks to get the hoses working right, but we persevered. And, thanks to the neighbours who helped by turning the taps on and off while we were away when the timer didn’t work. Luckily it has all come good before the heat wave so the test of tomatoes is showing

And for fun, here’s an idea you can test and let us know if it is fact or fiction…I heard on a gardening show ages ago that if you water before it rains, then the rain soaks in more rather than beading off. I don’t know if this is true, but it is often nice to get outside just before it starts raining so it sounds like a good excuse to get back in the veg patch to me 🙂

Stay cool.

Elizabeth G

PS: If you missed Part 1 on Watering Rules of Thumb, never fear, you can read it here…Part 1 – Rules of Thumb.
PPS: I find watering and seeds a bit more tricky but I’ll write about that another time.