- Waterwise Gardening | David Salman
Caring for New Transplants
We are moving into the driest time of the year which is late May and June. With good fortune, the summer monsoons will kick in around the 4th of July. But between then and now, it’s an important time to spend caring for your new transplants. Good nutrition, regular deep watering, mulching, and protection from browsing rabbits/deer are the four priorities to give your plants a strong start. In the long term, healthy, robust plants grow faster and fill out more quickly than plants stressed by lack of care. Stressed plants won’t ever catch up in their growth and vigor.
A twice-monthly watering with Medina Fish Blend
A superb product that feeds the beneficial microbial life in the soil upon which plant roots depend. Medina is also excellent and recommended as a foliar fertilizer for vegetables, herbs, cannabis, and annuals. Get a good misting bottle and fill it with Medina/water blend and coat the leaves in the early morning as the sun is just coming up. You’ll be amazed at how the plants respond. Apply 10 to 14 days.
Regular Deep Watering is Essential.
If you are watering by hose or watering can be sure you have well-formed soil saucers around the base of new transplants. When it’s time to water, fill them with water twice. Fill it, wait 5 minutes and re-fill it again. This ensures the water moistens both the plant's original root ball and the surrounding soil. You should be watering every other day for a couple of weeks then every third day until the monsoons get started.
If your plants are on a drip system, be sure you have one (1) gallon/hour emitter just off to the side of the plant but close enough to fill the saucer. Using the same timeline as above, schedule a 20-minute watering every other day followed by an every third-day interval. Keep your established plants on a separate schedule where they get 2 to 3 hours of irrigation once every 7 to 10 days.
Mulching is the best way to protect soil moisture from the sun and wind. And it provides cool soil temperatures that are best for root growth. I use the Back to Earth Cotton Burr mulch because it is coarse-textured and has nutrients that the plants need. Every time you water, it makes a compost tea which is liquid gold for new transplants. Fill both the watering basin (depression in the soil at the base of the plants) and cover a wider circle around the plant as well. A one-inch thick layer is just right. Other suitable mulching materials include small, crushed gravel, pine needles, pecan shells (excellent for keeping dogs and cats off your flower beds), or finely shredded bark. Use all at the same depth of 1 inch.
Protect from Hungry Rabbits and Deer
The area’s native plants are very dry and the native grasses have not yet greened up. This means that even deer and rabbit resistant plants need protection to get established, The Bobbex Animal repellent wards off rabbits, squires, and chipmunks. While the Bobbex Deer repellent is specially formulated to repel deer with a different formulation. Both recipes use only natural products. No chemical pesticides of any kind.
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