dalehileman
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Watering intrvals

One often wonders how long to wait after watering or rainfall. Of course an exact answer depends on

....(1) depth of planting and

....(2) time of year, where a seed or sprout might require daily attention in midsummer whereas a medium-size tree after several inches of rain might survive weeks before browning begins to set in; as well as

....(3) type of dirt, as we suppose loose topsoil for instance would dry out more quickly

Such considerations might require extensive treatment yet could be open to some general guidelines, eg:

.........(a) Might a seed or sprout in typical garden soil require watering twice a day in hot June whereas

........(b) After a shower Might a 15-ft tree not require watering for weeks. For instance in cold December, say, one day for each 0.1 in. of rain

We can wonder about indoor plantings as well:

For instance assume a gallon pot with sprouting seeds. How long after saturation does the surface it dry out endangering the planting

Of course the answer depends largely on the kind of soil and the ambient temp. One might suppose for instance that packed soil would hold water longer than loose compost or longer in winter than midsummer. But surely there must be some rough guidelines
dalehileman

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Kisal
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In my experience, the time period will also depend on the material from which the pot is made. Pots made of a non-porous material, such as plastic will cause the soil to retain more moisture than would those made of, say, unglazed clay. :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

dalehileman
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Kisal wrote:......the time period will also depend on the material from which the pot is made........
Thank you Kis for that reminder but I wonder if you might have an educated guess for a max watering interval in either case
dalehileman

cynthia_h
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Your own plants' needs are the best and only reliable source of info on when to water. After a while, you'll develop an understanding of what they need, based on sun exposure, soil type, temperature, etc. But those needs can vary widely, depending on weather conditions, the season of the year, and the strength of the individual plant.

Personal experience: in May 2008, there was a heat wave in most of California. Temps were 95 and above in S.F. proper and from Richmond down to about San Leandro, and in the 100s everywhere else. Central Valley, I think, was over 110. I was working at an outdoor event in Vallejo; it was 102 degrees in the shade. I was not in the shade.

I had planted my Square Foot Garden two or three weeks earlier; some seeds and some starts. (I also have established container plants and in-ground plants.) Prior to the heat wave, temps were in the (usual) 60s max and 50s overnight; I watered maybe every other day or every third day. Established plants once a week or so. Late April/early May. Plants in the raised bed (cinder block) and in containers, both plastic and terra cotta.

Well! :shock: It was a completely different story when the heat wave moved in. The first day I worked the outdoor event, I watered the evening before and made sure all the plants were thoroughly soaked, reasoning that I'm not a morning person (is *that* ever true...), so it was better to let the water soak in overnight and give the plants a "head start," so to speak.

Got to Vallejo about 8:30 a.m., got home about 6:00 p.m. Plants were laying down flat. Some were almost dead. :shock: Watered them immediately.

Next morning, I got up even earlier than I had on Day #1 and watered the plants before leaving the house. *ugh at the time of day* When I came home from Vallejo, the plants were still upright but looking stressed--established container plants and in-ground roses as well as the new veggies--and I watered again.

Twice a day is what it took during that heat wave, in May, in the S.F. East Bay. Established in-ground plants (roses!) needed once-a-day vs. once-a-week watering.

The next week, when temps returned to normal, I went back to watering every other day or so.

If I hadn't checked my plants before leaving the house *and* upon returning home, they would have died. But most times of the year, watering them twice a day is not only a waste of water and my time; it will drown the plants.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

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Kisal
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I agree that the watering schedule will totally depend on the plants' individual needs. I have some cacti that I water every couple of months, but others that need water every 3 weeks or so. Some of my African violets seem to dry out faster than others. There are just too many variables to allow it to be a clockwork type of thing. I check each of my plants by hand every day. That allows me not only to add water when the plant needs it, but to note any evidence of insects and diseases. :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

dalehileman
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Thank you Cyn for that rundown. I do have a somewhat bigger flower plot that I soon will have to seed while you've confirmed by plan to water it twice a day when the summer returns. It's on a sprinkler and wonder if you would agree setting it then to run 15 minutes both times

Kis you seem a lot more conscientious than I but thanks for the tips
dalehileman

cynthia_h
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I know this sounds very Zen, but...the flower pot will tell you.

Too much water too soon, and the seeds may wash out of the soil or the tentative new roots lose their hold.

Too little water and the seeds may dry up or the tentative new roots suffer likewise.

How big is "big"? Terra cotta? Glazed or not? Plastic? Sun or shade? Or partial of each? Sheltered from wind or not? Fast-draining soil or not?

Feel the soil with your hand each morning until you have sturdy seedlings. If the soil is damp, great! check it again that evening. Whenever the soil is dry at this stage, use a watering can, preferably with a rose on it to disperse the impact of the water.

After the plants are secure and can no longer be called "seedlings" but rather "young plants," check the soil by placing your index finger into it. If the soil is dry in the top inch or less, give water. Keep a record of how much water you're giving to the container; that is the setting for the automated system.

Cynthia

dalehileman
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Cyn thank you once again However

How big is "big"? Terra cotta? Glazed or not? Plastic? Sun or shade? Or partial of each? Sheltered from wind or not? Fast-draining soil or not?

Incidentally note I had said "flower plot" not "pot" It's of compost-like consistency about 20 ft in diameter and watered as I mentioned by a sprinkler

In spite of the fact that it snowed tis morning my spouse claims that now is the time to plant since the seeds need cold to germinate but I wonder if you would agree
dalehileman

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