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Vermont Garden Journal: Watering Plants

07/06/12 5:55PM
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I'm Charlie Nardozzi and this is the Vermont Garden Journal. The average person in the U.S. uses 80 to 100 gallons of water daily. The most common use is to flush the toilet. The average body consists of 70 percent water and by the time you're thirsty you've already lost 1 per cent of your total water amount. Yes, water is an essential part of life. But with all the concern about water conservation, saving money and having clean water, plants sometimes get the short end of the water stick in our yards. That's too bad because for newly planted trees and shrubs, up to 90 percent of their deaths can be attributed to poor watering the first year. In a dry summer like this one, watering is critical.

If you haven't received substantial rains, water newly planted trees and shrubs with 5 gallons of water at least a few times a week. This, and mulching, will keep sandy soils moist, and prevent clay soils from cracking and exposing young roots to drying out. Consider buying a gator bag for your new trees. These plastic sleeves fit around trees. Fill them with water and they slowly drip onto the tree roots keeping them moist and saving on watering.  

In the vegetable and flower garden, water infrequently and deeply, mulch and consider using drip irrigation or soaker hoses. These devices concentrate the water around the plants and don't waste it on walkways or pathways. Put them on a timer so you don't have to remember when to water. And consider installing rain barrels under your gutters to collect rainwater for garden usage.

For this week's tip, harvest garlic now when the bottom leaves start yellowing. Check the bulb underground. It should be firm and show some bumps of cloves, but the cloves shouldn't be separating from each other. Pull up the garlic, knock off the soil, and dry them in a well ventilated shed or garage for 2 weeks. Then cut back the tops to store the bulbs for winter.

Next week on the Vermont Garden Journal, I'll be talking about summer squash pests. For now, I'll be seeing you in the garden!

Resources:
Tree Gator
Watering Home Garden and Landscape Plants
Rain Barrels

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