With the summer heating up, it’s important that both you and your plants stay properly hydrated. We use the word “properly” because there is almost an art to watering. It’s all about finding a good balance. After all, not enough water, and your plants will wither and die. Too much water and the roots can rot and the plant can “drown.” The right amount of water keeps your plants thriving and your harvest booming.
Here are some tips to keep in mind the next time you reach for that garden hose or watering can:
- Check containers daily: If the top inch of soil in your pots is dry (test this by simply pushing your finger into the dirt), then it’s time to water. Small pots dry out faster than big ones, so be sure to keep a closer eye on them. Pots set in shady areas will retain more moisture than those that receive full sun all day, too.
- Pay attention to new plants: Plants that have been in your garden or landscaping for a season or more tend to need less watering than newer ones. Their root systems are much more mature and established, so they have an easier time pulling water from the ground. Water new plantings two to three times per week, saturating the soil to a depth of 6-12 inches to promote good root growth.
- Details of dirt: Sandy soils dry out quickly, while clay soils can be soggy or rock hard. You can amend the soil with organic matter to correct these situations. Soil that is rich in humus holds moisture like a sponge while allowing air pockets that promote good root growth.
- Time it just right: The best time to water your plants is in the cooler hours of early morning (except for trees and shrubs, which benefit more from evening/night watering). This helps reduce evaporation and allows more water to settle into the soil where your plants can enjoy it throughout the day. If you can, set up a drip irrigation system or soaker hose to further minimize wasted water. Remember, it is better to water deeper and less often than quickly every day. Deep watering sessions ensure water gets to your plants’ roots, where it is needed most.
- Mulch it: Cover the area around your plants with a thick layer (3-4 inches) of wood chips or compost. This helps reduce evaporation and provides a bonus benefit of preventing water-stealing weeds from crowding out your plants.
Cleaning Corner: Cleaning Swimwear
Bathing suits are made from unique materials that require special care. To keep your swimwear looking great summer after summer, follow these tips.
- Read the tag on your bathing suit first to check the manufacturer’s care instructions. This will supersede the tips that follow.
- Rinse your bathing suit thoroughly in the sink or tub with cool water. Do NOT wring or twist it to get the water out as this can damage the fabric.
- Fill the sink or tub with cold water and add swimwear detergent (available at your local store) or gentle hand soap. Gently massage the fabric.
- Rinse the sudsy water from your bathing suit. Empty and refill the sink/tub with clean, cold water and massage the fabric again to remove the soap residue. Repeat until no more soap remains.
- Gently squeeze the excess water out and lay flat to dry.