The Q&A Archives: Watering, Etc.

Question: You were the only site that answered my question regarding ivy in a complete manner. I hope you can answer more questions. The more I garden, the more questions I have. I recently had a watering system installed and neither the pamphlet nor the installer could tell me approximate inches of water in a specified amount of time. The ornamental section is controlled by 4 stations with pop up sprinklers. The vegetable garden was installed with a rigid soaker system, the holes being about 12

Answer: We're always happy to answer your gardening questions, so feel free to drop by often. We ask that you limit each submission to a single question because both the questions and answers are added to a searchable database. You're welcome to make as many submissions as you have questions!

Let's start with your watering question. The pop-up sprinklers will be the easiest to figure out. Simply set some empty tuna or cat food cans out in the lawn (or garden) and allow the system to water as usual. When it's over, measure the amount of water in the cans. Optimally, they will deliver a total of one-inch of water per week. If you get a quarter-inch of water in the cans in 15 minutes, you'll want to run it four times a week in order to provide the one inch your lawn or garden will need. If they provide more (or less) you'll want to tweek the system a bit. Different soil types, as well as climate, will require some adjustments. If your plants look wilty, apply more water.

Soaker hoses will be a little more difficult. I'd allow the system to run normally and then dig down to see how far the water penetrates. Depending upon the veggies you're growing, you'll want the water to penetrate at least eight inches - 12 is better. If it doesn't, you'll want to leave the hoses on longer. Once or twice a week should be often enough for a veggie garden.

As for compost tea, a rule of thumb is to dilute the leachate down to one part compost liquid to four to ten parts water. It should look like iced tea.

Your kelp meal should be diluted with water and used as a foliar spray or a root drench. I use one tablespoon to one gallon of water. You can apply this every month to your tomato plants.

Best wishes with your garden!

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