This year we have yet to reach 100 degrees and have been blessed with regular refreshing and thirst-quenching rains.
What a difference a year or two makes! In recent years at this time, we had already experienced triple digit heat several times and had been watering regularly to beat a punishing drought.
This year we have yet to reach 100 degrees and have been blessed with regular refreshing and thirst-quenching rains that have dramatically reduced how much time we have had to spend watering to grow and sustain our trees, shrubs, gardens and lawns.
Normally we would slow down on planting at this time of the year and focus on mulching, watering and trying to support or sustain the crops we have already planted. With the extra moisture in our top and sub soils and the milder conditions this year, you can still experience great success planting container-grown trees, shrubs, annuals, perennials and even warm-season vegetables as long as you will be faithful and dependable in watering when needed between our natural rains.
This is prime container gardening season as many folks are spending more time outside on the patio, the front porch or in their back yards. You may be entertaining guests and want to dress up your apartment, condo or home with the extra color and excitement of live plants. Container gardens give you two opportunities to make a design statement. One is with the container you select. It can be anything from a traditional black nursery container to a decorative terra cotta or other color plastic or foam pot. It can be a whisky barrel, an old wash tub, a wheelbarrow or other imaginative container that can hold soil.
The big issues that affect container gardening success are the size of the container and how much soil it can hold, drainage holes for water to escape from the container and the quality of soil used in the container.
Grow Veggies Anywhere with These DIY Self-watering Containers
An Idea That Made Container Gardening (Almost) Foolproof
A recent development in gardening technology is the emergence of the sub-irrigating(a.k.a. “self-watering”) container. This idea has helped make it possible for more people to grow some of their own food – and more kinds of it – in places we never imagined, such as patios, apartment balconies, or even abandoned parking lots and city building rooftops. What does a self-watering plant container do? Does it mean you’ll never have to water it?
Not exactly. You do have to water it, but not nearly as often, and it takes all the guesswork out of knowing when to add water, and how much to add.
A sub-irrigating container design based on 2 5-gallon buckets.
Water-wise gardening is a hot topic. Landscape irrigation accounts for 50% of the average household’s water usage. As more communities are forced to regulate and reduce water usage, conservation efforts are directed, first and foremost, to educating homeowners about water conservation in the garden. Some of the terms used in discussions about water-wise gardening may be unfamiliar or a little confusing. Here is a brief explanation of a few of the most commonl used terms in discussing water- wise gardening.
Xeriscape: The word “xeros” comes from the Greek word for “dry.” Some earlier examples of xeriscape gardening did indeed look dry, dusty and empty with a few cacti and other desert natives scattered over barren soil. Newer methods of teaching xeriscape gardening include:
– Adding organic materials (compost, humus) to create well-draining soil that holds water well.
– Topping planting beds with a 6- to 8-inch layer of mulch to cut water needs in half.
– Reducing the size of the lawn.
– Replacing thirsty turf grass with drought-tolerant ground covers or perennials.
– Choosing native perennial plants or those that are suitable for the local climate.
Hydrozone: Refers to the practice of grouping plants with similar irrigation needs together. Gardens can be designed so that heavy water users such as roses are irrigated separately from more drought-tolerant plants.
Container plants let you garden even when you don’t have a patch of earth to call your own. Container gardening brings plants up close, adding color and interest to patios, decks, and porches, and providing indoor rooms with a touch of nature. Growing plants in containers allows you to maintain control over the quality of soil, and makes it easier to manage weeds and pests. Yet many find it challenging to keep container plants thriving. When container plants go bad, often the culprit is the method of watering.
Most people water plants in containers from the top. Some prefer watering from the bottom. While there are certain circumstances where one method is preferred over the other, it is important to remember that to plants, all that matters is that roots get the moisture they need to thrive, neither too little, nor too much. Before deciding whether to water from the bottom or from the top, other factors need to be considered. To reach the right balance of moisture, plants need more than water. They need the right soil and the right amount of drainage.
Soil for Container Plants
Ordinary garden soil is generally too heavy for use in container plants.
Container gardening is, in many ways, one of the easiest ways to grow flowers and edibles in your garden. You can take advantage of sunny areas, and it doesn’t matter how awful (or nonexistent) your garden soil is, because you can fill your containers with perfect, fluffy soil. But watering can be a challenge, especially during hot, dry weather. Here are a few tips for keeping your container gardens happy.
Three Easy Ways to Water Container Gardens
The point of these three methods is to provide a steady, slow trickle of water to your container gardens. In hot, dry weather, containers often need to be watered twice a day. If you’re going to be away from home, and are worried about your container gardens drying out, these methods can buy you some peace of mind.
Pieces of cardboard can be placed around saplings with the aim to conserve some more moisture between two irrigation rounds. It was noted that sufficient soil moisture was retained for up to 8 days more. Besides conserving moisture, it also keeps out weeds.
The only cost is to get the cardboard, cut it and place it. Used cardboard boxes and egg trays can perfectly serve the purpose.
Se puso cartón alrededor de los árboles con la finalidad de que les dure un poco más la humedad al regarlos. Comprobamos que les puede durar hasta 8 días más en este tiempo. Además de conservar la humedad, el cartón impide que salgan hierbas.
El único costo es conseguir el cartón, cortarlo y ponerlo. Se usó cartón de cajas de desecho y cartón que se usa para el huevo, este último es reciclado y aún así alcanzamos a darle otro uso.
In August, the once beautifully potted plants sit listlessly on porches, patios, balconies and roof gardens. Greens, herbs, flowers and perennials all seem to give up on life this time of year no matter what we do.
Nine times out of 10, the cause is simply dry roots. Note: I have not said “lack of water” because even in the summertime, plants get watered plenty. The problem is that the water doesn’t go to where it’s needed in the plants.
Look closely at your potted plants to see how the soil shrinks when it begins to dry out. This leaves a gap between the edges of the soil and the pot wall. The water that you apply seeps through that gap and out through the bottom. How much of the water do you actually think gets absorbed into the potting soil or roots?
Slide the plant out of the pot and you will find that the roots are concentrated in a thin but dense layer around the outside of the soil mass known as the root ball. The roots have created this mass around the soil because that’s the only place water can be found, however briefly that may be. This may have been fine in the cool days of late spring, but come late summer with the heat, it’s simply not enough moisture to maintain healthy, beautiful plants.
The best way to revive these plants is to encourage them with a payoff of moisture deep within the dry root ball. Once accomplished, the roots will moisten and grow, where it is dark, cool and wet. So how do you get the root ball thoroughly moistened?