Friday, June 4, 2010

Be ""Water Wise" This Summer...!

If your home place is like mine right now, you don't have an immediate problem with watering the garden.

However, the hot and dry weather is coming...and sooner or later, this information from the Old Farmer's Almanac just might come in handy!

Now, some of you may know all of this. I knew quite a bit of it, but there was some things here that I didn't! Goes to show, we can all learn something every day!

The Water-Wise Garden

Plants drink their food. If your soil dries out, your plants will starve—or wilt. Take these steps to keep your garden moist and water wisely:

Improve the Soil

Rainwater sluices through pure sand at the rate of 20 inches per hour or even faster, taking with it everything plants need to survive. Soil with lots of organic matter slows the transition of water from the soil to the subsoil, giving plants a chance to take in what they need. To help retain moisture, mix lots of peat moss and compost into the soil at planting time.

Plan a Smaller Garden

Take stock of what you really need to grow and don't exceed your calculations. For example, two or three hills of zucchini and cucumbers will easily meet the needs of a family of four.

Choose Bush Varieties

Plants that grow low to the soil will lose less water through transpiration than those that spread rampantly (Hubbard squash) or twine up to the sky (pole beans). Check descriptions in seed catalogs for varieties that need little space and can tolerate dry conditions.

Place Plants Close Together

Leaves from neighboring plants will shade the soil, helping to conserve surface moisture and reduce weed growth. Plant beans about an inch apart, tomatoes about 18 inches apart.

Mulch Well

Mulch prevents moisture from evaporating directly from the soil surface, and it can greatly reduce weeds. Use whatever you have at hand—newspaper; black plastic; old carpet; large, flat stones—and apply it when the soil is wet. (Don't mulch with peat moss; it dries out and forms a mat on the top of the soil that easily sheds water. Instead, work peat moss well into the soil.)

Weed Diligently

Smother weeds or pull them out—roots and all. Don't make your plants compete with weeds for moisture.

Reduce Evaporation

Water your garden in the late afternoon or early in the morning--times when the least amount of water will evaporate from the leaves. To encourage roots to develop, soak the garden thoroughly rather than watering it lightly several times.

Use a Drip System

Drip irrigation provides greater water savings than sprinklers. (Consult your county extension agent for tips on setting up drip irrigation.) If you install a drip system, allow for different beds or separate parts of the garden to be on separate sets of commands. The water needs of plants differ widely, and a system that delivers one rate of water to your entire plot can be wasteful.

Strip Off Leaves

Large, bushy tomato plants lose a lot of water through their leaves. Once the green tomatoes reach their full size, strip off most of the leaves to reduce evaporation and keep water going to the ripening fruit.

Harvest at Once

As soon as a fruit or vegetable is ripe, remove it from the plant. Pull up any plants that aren't productive or that are past their prime.

Now, you'll notice that I use the Almanac quite a bit and there's a good reason for that! I learn a ton of information that I didn't know before...and i am reminded of a myriad of things I had forgotten.

If you don't have a copy of the Farmer's Almanac, may I suggest that you get one? If you want, you can just go on-line to read and enjoy the almanac. Just drop in to and open the door to tons of excellent reading!

Now, let's get some fresh coffee and sit in the kitchen for a bit! We can listen to Mother Nature water my little garden for me...!


Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Thanks for the gardening info. We will be doing a few of them today - weeding too :-(. I've been enjoying your blog...please drop in for a visit at our garden. There's also a front porch for coffee and later iced coffee in late afternoon. We're at thefrogandpenguinn.

Ben in Texas said...

Sounds like all good advice. However at my age the "gardening" consist now of keeping the acre of yard mowed!!:-)

Coffee on the patio this morning? Got your mug waiting for you.

HermitJim said...

Hey Beatrice...
Good to see you this morning! Just signed up as a follopwer on your blog!

I figure that any place with coffee on the porch and a rocker to sit in has got to be my kind of place!

Thanks for the visit today!

Hey Ben...
Thank goodness you don't have to use a push mower!

Hey, I appreciate the mug this morning, my friend! And thanks for coming by for a visit!

JoJo said...

Good Morning My Special One
good tips. I will be heading to Tucson mon. to get my car and leaving the next day back up the mountain. I hope my skirting will be done so I can plant some things up here. I may just have to do pot plants this year as it is getting late, even for up here. I will keep these tips for early planting next year. thanks

HermitJim said...

Hey JoJo...
Sounds like you got it all going on! Maybe soon you'll be able to send us some pictures and let me see the new home place!

Glad it's all going well, sweetie, and glad that you came by for a visit!

Stephanie in AR said...

Or plant your plants very far apart. Steve Solomon (founder of Territorial Seeds) wrote a book called "Gardening in Hard Times", when he was the owner of Territorial he had to do seed grow-outs which later led to some experimenting & research into old writings(after he sold the business). What he found is that during drought if the plants are spaced far apart they will live and continue to produce because there is no competition for water. They produce as much as the closely planted crop without all the work. Anyway its a good read & I'd recommend the book as a must have in the prep library.

Mechanic in Illinois said...

Thanks for the gardening tips and another great lesson. I can't let my garden die, I would loose all the protein from the the deer,rabbits, and squirrels.

HermitJim said...

Hey Stephanie...
I've planted far apart several times, and all did go well! Most of my plants here in the deep south Texas area, the garden goes on until the cold weather sets in! That's a good thing!

Thanks for the info on the book! I'll have to see if I can find it...!

I appreciate you coming by today, friend!

Hey Mechanic...
Maybe you should plant those critters some oats around the garden area! That might just keep them coming, even if the garden goes belly up!

Don't want to lose that extra protein, ya know?

Thanks for the visit today, buddy!

Tatersmama said...

Great advice! I spent a week checking stores in California, and all The Farmer's Almanacs were already sold out! So thanks for the link, my friend!!

HermitJim said...

Hey Tatersmama...
I'm more than happy to share the link, and I hope that you enjoy it!
I certainly do!

Many thanks for coming by today!