As the outside temperatures increase and we see more sunny days, its going to be harder and harder to keep the soil in your garden, and in your planters, moist.
Its vital that the soil stays damp because the bacteria and microbial communities living in the dirt are helping your plants grow. If the soil becomes too dry, these communities die off and the soil must be replaced.
Of course, we all know that water is becoming an increasingly limited resource on our planet. Its necessary for everyone to cut back on the water they use for unnecessary purposes, like watering the garden. So how do you maintain your plants while maintaining the environment?
We have to address this question in two parts, based on the conditions under which your plants are planted.
1) Plants in Pots
- Planting your garden in a series of pots is actually a very convenient and effective way to garden. You can choose attractive planters that can be arranged strategically around your yard or in your home. They can be moved in cases of dangerous weather and they will be less affected by common yard annoyances like moles and insects.
- There are now many options available for keeping the soil in pots moist, from special crystals to Miracle Grow Moisture Control Soil. You can avoid all of these unusual and possibly toxic solutions by utilizing a few cut-up sponges.
- Take your empty planter and strategically place cut, moistened sponges in the base of the pot to cover the bottom.
- Once you've filled the pot with soil and a few plants, you should notice the soil retains its moisture longer. If when watering you notice slight flooding at the top of the soil, the sponges are full of water and it is unneccesary to continue watering for some time.
2) Plants in the Ground
- The first rule in having a ground-planted garden is using plants that are native to your location. These plants will be acclimated to your soil type so they should not require too much additional water.
- The second rule is to make sure you have lots of treens planted around the yard that will provide not only shade during long, hot afternoons, but also a prolonged dripping of water after a rain fall.
- Water the plants in the early morning or later in the evening to avoid unnecessary evaporation.
- If planting on a hill, use barriers to keep water from running off the surface of the soil.
- Use mulch and other ground cover like pine needles to absorb water and keep moisture in.
- Install drip sprinklers rather than using spray sprinklers.