With the dry weather finally upon us, good crop watering makes all the difference to portion size.
Now is the time to manage your precious water reserve and apply to plants when they need it most.
Life cycle watering
Good seed sowing starts off strong plants that’ll be more resilient in drier months. Ensure moist seed ‘drills’ for swift germination and then enough water for rows of emerging seedlings. The same goes for seedlings in pots and trays on the windowsill where small volumes of compost dry out quickly.
Water your eager transplants before planting. If their rootball isn’t wet, water will scoot around the edges as the route of least resistance rather than wetting the rootball. Transplants cannot afford any such stop in growth if they’re to produce good roots quickly for summer resilience.
Established plants in the soil are best watered in large amounts, but less often. This encourages deeper rooting and more independent plants. Watering little and often promotes shallow roots that will need more water in dry weather. Although do water crops in containers more often, as these can’t root as deeply as soil grown plants.
Top organic tips
- Water in the morning or evening (less water is lost to evaporation)
- Water beneath leaves to wet the soil. Wet leaves can be scorched in sunny weather
- Remove weeds as these compete with plants for water
- Water more often in windy weather as plants will dry out in these conditions
- Check if outdoor containers need water even after rain. Dense foliage and ‘rain-shadows’ from buildings can stop water getting to the soil
- Collect and use rainwater, eg install water-butts for sheds. This reduces the environmental impact and cost of using mains water.
- Conserve moisture by adding organic matter to soil, such as compost or leaf mould. Dig in, or spread over the soil surface as a mulch.
Garden Organic’s growing resources
- What’s new in the veg world? Click here to discover unusual crops
- Become a member of the UK leading organic growing charity, Garden Organic
- Adopt a Veg!
- Read lively growing blogs by volunteer Master Gardeners:
Coventry & Warwickshire, North London, South London, Norfolk, Lincolnshire, and Medway
Article by Philip Turvil