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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Water rings

By Jennifer

This is how I like to water my tomato, squash, melon and pepper plants:

• First, dig a moat around the plants. (For the vacation-starved gardener, imagine you're creating a little palm tree on its own desert isle, which in my case is as close as I'll probably get to the real thing. Is my husband reading this?)

With tomatoes and squash use a one-foot radius for the moat; peppers can be a bit smaller. 

• Use hose to fill water ring, let water soak into the soil, then fill again. Go away for a week. (Like, on a trip?) 

If you'd like you can make channels to join all the water rings together to make watering easier. It will be like having your very own grownup sand box. (Again, do I need a vacation or what?) One year, while I didn't plan it, the five tomato plants in my garden box formed perfect Olympic rings as a lead-in to the China summer games. (Someone get me out of here!)

This method allows you to do a thorough, deep watering. Infrequent, deep watering helps plants form strong roots. Water rings are especially useful in clay soil to contain, and allow to soak, the water that would normally run off. l I water my tomatoes every 7-10 days this way. As you can see I also use grass clippings as a mulch to retain moisture.


Meg said...

Even in the hottest part of the summer you can wait 7-10 days between watering with this method? Wow that's impressive! Seems like I'm out there watering everyday.

Jennifer said...

Yes, I only water my tomatoes once a week -- they can form especially deep roots. I should clarify that the other types of plants may need water more frequently. (Don't let yours die just because mine are camels!) The water ring method is still helpful, though, to deliver water right to the plant.

The trenches around my tomato plants are about five inches deep -- that creates a big bowl! For the sake of this article I started with my watering can so I could measure how much water I was putting in one plant's ring. I gave that up after about five gallons and switched to the hose. I estimate that with both fill-ups (allowing the first to soak in before the second), I gave the plant 10 gallons. That's deep. :)

Becky said...

That is a great idea - but maybe I'll use it next year:



teekaroo said...

love this idea! I'm getting a little tired of hauling watering cans.

drip irrigation systems said...

thank you for the offering! it's looks like great way to increase the chance that the plants get more water.