Water Problems? Cut the Water Works!

Cut the Water Works

As a kid, I remember watching my mom get up diligently every morning to water her flowers (unless it rained, of course).  They were beautiful all summer long so naturally, my instinct with my own garden was to follow suit.

Over the years, I’ve learned that overwatering can be just as bad for plants as underwatering and that their water needs can vary based on many factors.  Climate, soil, distinct plant needs (that even varies based on maturity), weather, etc.  While some plants seemed resilient to changes in soil moisture other were super-sensitive and usually in a not-so-great way.

a history of water problems

In a previous post, I briefly shared my troubles with keeping cilantro alive.  The first year that I attempted to grow cilantro, I noticed the leaves start to turn yellow if I missed a day of watering.  Upon trying to get the soil back up to what I thought to be a proper moisture level, I saturated the soil and only watched as my tasty herb descended into a swift, yellow-brown demise.  The second attempt the following year involved increasing the watering and I watched it fall into the same sad state.


Anyway, when it comes to considering my garden’s water needs, whether they are in the container or in the ground, mulched or not, receive more or less sun than others, I will admit this has been a little overwhelming.  I have a bad habit of overthinking just about everything but I still don’t know how much thought is too much when it comes to trying to sustain plant life.

just a few tidbits on watering

When is a plant considered “established”?  What is “regular” watering?  How much moisture does mulch and landscape fabric actually retain?  How much water is too much or not enough?  Among the confusion, here are the two tidbits I know to be consistently true:

Containers usually need more water than in-ground plants.  This is usually due to the fact that most potted plants should be well-drained to avoid stagnant water at the roots.  Also, containers have more exposed surfaced, leaving them a little more vulnerable to temperature changes.
Long, infrequent watering sessions are better than shorter, more frequent ones.  It encourages deeper, stronger root systems that can tolerate environmental changes better.


trying some things out

I am currently transitioning away from watering every morning to letting the plants tell me what they need.  I don’t know if that sounds silly or not in the gardening community but it relieves the stress of it just a smidge.  After all, I use gardening to RELAX!

Because of the second fact mentioned above and some online readings, I switched my sprinkler schedule for the garden bed from every morning to once a week.  I honestly have no idea whether that is a sufficient interval but I figure it’s a good place to start.  Our days have gone from cool to much warmer so I’ll just have to watch and adjust as needed.


Future plans, include a drip or soaker system.  We also were given a rain barrel by some friends and we’ll definitely want to put that to use at some point this summer!

UPDATE:  Since starting this post, it has rained abundantly!  To the point that I was worried about my garden being oversaturated.  So far so good though!  My plants are still chugging along!

What do you use to manage your garden’s watering schedule?

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