How to Thoroughly Water

You’d think I would know better but this spring I learned even more about what thoroughly water means. I started two big flats of coleus and aster seeds, first filling the flats with seed-starting soil then scattering the seeds on top. I watered everything and waited seven days. The seeds sprouted out of the soil and I moved them under my homemade PVC Light Stand to grow for a week.

A few days later, the seedlings began to wilt. I sprayed the soil until it was soggy on top. Next day, the seedlings were limp again. I sprayed again. Not until the third wilting did I think to check the soil under the seedlings after I sprayed. Was I surprised!! The top half-inch was wet – – but the bottom two inches were dry! I simply was not thoroughly watering the soil.

With predictions of summer drought and water restrictions looming, it is more important than ever to place water down where the roots can get it. Don’t turn off your hose just because the soil is soppy. Check with a trowel to make sure the earth is wet six inches deep. You might find, like I did, that your water isn’t penetrating as far as you think.

One rule of thumb is to give a plant one gallon of water per foot of height. Since a hose at full blast delivers five gallons per minute, you’d need to water a chest-high rose bush a full minute before moving to the next one. If you’re watering annual and perennial flower beds, spend sixty seconds watering every ten square feet of bed area.

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