The Summer Water-Machine
Greetings from our brand-spanking new website. Thanks to my friend and professional media manager Linda, we have finally brought this lovely format to the table.
Topic: Summer Watering. For those of us who have just not gotten around to installing our drip systems (us at Casa Wallula) or for those that have semi-manageable gardens that they enjoy the ethereal act of hand watering for mental therapy (us, again at Casa Wallula), this task indeed can become somewhat of a chore by mid to late August.
If hand watering is your thing, here are some tips for being the most effective at applying water to your little babies, new or established in the garden.
Especially if you have newly planted babies, ones that are really pretty dependent on the Water Fairy, you will want to be mindfull of HOW you apply the water for maximum success.
Mulched beds are a necessity in my landscapes, and I am fairly diligent about getting THAT chore done in the Spring early on. Watering on top of mulch can be tricky, if the mulch is quite dry, water will tend to want to run and not disperse down into the root zone where it is so badly needed. Even if you have not mulched your beds (tsk, tsk), your clay soil can be so thick and dense that applying a whole deluge of water at one time can create a river that runs away from your intended destination.
I practice what is called 'pulse watering' which means that I first pulse the water (yes, psht, psht) AROUND the plant, getting the mulch or clay soil wet, which reduces the water tension and allows the medium to accept the water you are about to give it. I will work my way down an area doing the 'psht-psht', then make my way back with another round of 'psht-psht'. Then I go back with a constant flow of water (preferably the 'shower' catagory on my water wand) to do the Big Water. I am always cognisant of making sure that I apply enough water to get down to the bottom of the root ball (better to water trees and shrubs deeper to encourage deep root growth - makes a tougher plant).
If any of your beds "have topography" (a fancy term for "are on a slope"), remember that the water application point should always be ABOVE the plant, so that gravity assists in getting the water to where you want it once it travels down deep.
Roses...just water the soil and not the stems, trunks or leaves.
NOTE: Ammending your clay soil with good quality compost will add lots of air pockets, allowing water to perculate in more easily, better root spreading, and helps to unlock the nutrients that are abundant in our PNW clay soils.
And remember to make either a full pot of coffee (if early morning hand watering is your thing) or set out a bottle of your favorite beverage (at the end of the day if it is spirited), because you will need it. Have a favorite podcast? Tune in and tune out. These are the days of Summer........