Vegetable gardens, flower containers, and landscapes glowed so vibrantly through the spring. Then summer arrived. The thermometer started climbing to 100 degrees every day, and the garden picture changed overnight. Vegetable plants turned yellow; flowers wilted; and several plants in the landscape may have died.
You are mystified at the change, since everything is still getting watered, sometimes even drowned in an effort to bring the garden back to its spring beauty. The drip system is working and you are moving the hose around, so why do so many plants look miserable?
One would think hundreds of years of garden research would have established exactly how much water each tree and shrub requires to thrive. However, if you have looked for this information, you discovered very little scientific information about watering a garden exists.
You have learned your trust in drip irrigation systems, hoses, and sprayers is misplaced. Drip and underground water systems often are programmed in the spring or when plants were young and newly installed. The system may not have been re-programed to provide more water as the plants grew.
Watering in the desert is an art. It takes thought, care, and a bit of personalized attention. As we head into the dead heat of summer, follow these tips to keep your garden thriving with more vegetables and flowers throughout the season.
Watering in the desert is an art.
It takes thought, care, and a bit of personalized attention.
- The best action to take at the first sign of plants struggling is to check that they truly are getting enough water. Examine the hoses and sprinklers for effectiveness. Walk through the garden and insure every drip emitter is spraying. Test that the water pressure is sufficient to deliver water to every emitter.
- In hot weather, increase the watering time for drips and sprayers.
- Replace sprayers with a bubbler for watering larger plants and containers.
- Keep a watering can filled to give extra drinks to the most thirsty plants and containers.
- Consider moving sun sensitive plants to a shady area.
- Probe containers or tilt the pot to see if it is heavy and enough water has been delivered to the plants.
- Check containers to be sure the soil extends to the edges so water doesn’t run down the outside edge without being absorbed by the roots.
- Walk the garden morning and evening to watch for wilting or yellowing plants so you can catch problems before a plant has expired.
- Add compost or gravel mulch under plants to help prevent evaporation, hold moisture, and cool the soil.