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Old 28-07-2003, 01:42 AM
Fred
 
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Default Garden Watering Recommendation - Washington DC

I have a small (5'x6') backyard garden in Washington DC. Mostly I
have tomatoes and peppers planted. The garden receives a good bit of
sun and has mulch at the base of the plants. Assuming no rain for a
week, how often should I water my garden and for how long? I'm using
a typical yard sprinkler which swivels from side to side but is set to
only pass over the garden area.

What is the best way to water this type of garden? Maybe next year,
I'll set up a better system but I'm stuck with what I have for now.

Thanks!
Fred
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Old 28-07-2003, 02:12 AM
Warren
 
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Default Garden Watering Recommendation - Washington DC

Fred wrote:
I have a small (5'x6') backyard garden in Washington DC. Mostly I
have tomatoes and peppers planted. The garden receives a good bit of
sun and has mulch at the base of the plants. Assuming no rain for a
week, how often should I water my garden and for how long? I'm using
a typical yard sprinkler which swivels from side to side but is set to
only pass over the garden area.

What is the best way to water this type of garden? Maybe next year,
I'll set up a better system but I'm stuck with what I have for now.



Overhead watering is not the best way to water the garden. Tomatoes do
not like getting wet. I've heard of some people so obsessed with this
that they have awnings they can put over their gardens when it rains.
That's a little too much effort for me. The best way to water a tomato
and pepper garden is to use drip irrigation with an emitter near each
plant. A timer can be used to turn it on for an hour or two each
morning, and if a finger test of the soil near a plant indicates
otherwise, you can increase or decrease it from there.

An alternative would be a soaker hose. Not the kind that sprays, but the
kind that weeps. A soaker hose can be buried under the mulch to protect
it from UV rays, as can the tubing for drip irrigation. But with drip
irrigation, make sure the emitters are above the mulch so they don't get
clogged.

If you're going to stick with overhead watering for the rest of this
year, do the same thing as you would with drip irrigation: A finger
test. I don't live in the Washington, DC area, but just from what I know
about the geography, there is no one type of soil, let alone find a way
to take into account how you prepared your soil. How loamy it is,
whether there's a shallow hardpan, how much and what type of mulch you
used, and how many hours of the day your garden is in direct sunlight
are some of the factors that go into determining how often, and how much
you need to water.

In the end, how moist the soil is a little more than a finger length
under the surface, plus the visual signs your plants give will have to
be your guide. There isn't such a thing as a watering calculator that
you can plug in a few numbers, and get a set watering schedule. Not
unless you're working in a greenhouse with controlled soil, light,
temperature and humidity. And even then your calculator would only give
you a rough estimate.

--
Warren H.

==========
Disclaimer: My views reflect those of myself, and not my
employer, my friends, nor (as she often tells me) my wife.
Any resemblance to the views of anybody living or dead is
coincidental. No animals were hurt in the writing of this
response -- unless you count my dog who desperately wants
to go outside now.
Blatant Plug:
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Old 28-07-2003, 09:42 AM
J. Lane
 
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Default Garden Watering Recommendation - Washington DC

Hey Fred,
Phisherman is right. You need an inch of waer every couple of days. You live
in the Northwest so I presume you get rainfall occasionally (not like me ).
Ideally the plants need water at least twice a week. Also you should use a
soaker hose to avoid mildew and water in the early morning to avoid moiture
sitting on the leaves.
--
Jayel
"Fred" wrote in message
om...
I have a small (5'x6') backyard garden in Washington DC. Mostly I
have tomatoes and peppers planted. The garden receives a good bit of
sun and has mulch at the base of the plants. Assuming no rain for a
week, how often should I water my garden and for how long? I'm using
a typical yard sprinkler which swivels from side to side but is set to
only pass over the garden area.

What is the best way to water this type of garden? Maybe next year,
I'll set up a better system but I'm stuck with what I have for now.

Thanks!
Fred



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Old 28-07-2003, 02:12 PM
Mike Stevenson
 
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Default Garden Watering Recommendation - Washington DC

All the prior reccomendations are good ones, and finger testing is
defiantely a good way to go. Your test should determine that the soil is
semi-moist, meaning not soaked but too wet for the soil to be considered
"workable", approximately 6 inches down into the soil. It's rather late in
the season, but long deep waterings that soak well down in the soil, and
then allow the top 2 or 3 inches to dry somewhat are best for plants such as
peppers and tomatoes. This encourages them to root deeply, allowing them to
obtain better concentrations of soil minerals, and helping them deal better
with very hot dry weather, as well as offering good support for the tall
plants.

An option used by some who for whatever reason cannot use the drip method is
to take 2 liter soda bottles, cut off the bottoms, and bury them in the
ground part ways near each plant. Then you simply fill the bottles every so
often and allow the water to leech down into the soil. If you have very
sandy/loamy soil the water may drain out very fast however, and it may
require several fillings per sitting to achieve good seepage. There are
commerical plugs sold by a few dealers that can be screwed on the bottom of
the bottles. This helps to control the rate of seepage into the soil. Keep
in mind when using this method that full grown tomato plants can require as
much (or more) as 10 pints of water per day...

"Fred" wrote in message
om...
I have a small (5'x6') backyard garden in Washington DC. Mostly I
have tomatoes and peppers planted. The garden receives a good bit of
sun and has mulch at the base of the plants. Assuming no rain for a
week, how often should I water my garden and for how long? I'm using
a typical yard sprinkler which swivels from side to side but is set to
only pass over the garden area.

What is the best way to water this type of garden? Maybe next year,
I'll set up a better system but I'm stuck with what I have for now.

Thanks!
Fred



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Old 28-07-2003, 10:02 PM
 
Posts: n/a
Default Garden Watering Recommendation - Washington DC

(Fred) writes in article dated 27 Jul 2003 17:34:52 -0700:
I have a small (5'x6') backyard garden in Washington DC. Mostly I
have tomatoes and peppers planted. The garden receives a good bit of
sun and has mulch at the base of the plants. Assuming no rain for a
week, how often should I water my garden and for how long? I'm using
a typical yard sprinkler which swivels from side to side but is set to
only pass over the garden area.

What is the best way to water this type of garden? Maybe next year,
I'll set up a better system but I'm stuck with what I have for now.


Assuming you're going for quantity --

The more water the better, as long as you don't drown them. The roots
should have some air around them at night. Twice a day (morning and noon)
is better than once. Soaker hoses are better than sprinklers, because
leaves do their job (photosynthesis) better when they're dry. Of course you
don't need to water on rainy days.

The biggest tomato plants I ever saw up close were in the DC area, watered
daily by soaker hoses (twice daily on weekends when the guy was home), and
fertilized with Miracle-gro. He had some good banana peppers too.

If you're going for taste --

Don't ask the American farmers. The vast majority of tomatoes in the
grocery stores here are completely devoid of any flavor.

--Thundermaker$yahoo.com (Spud Demon)
The above may not (yet) represent the opinions of my employer.
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