- Waterwise Gardening | David Salman
Summer Garden Care
Although a bit more moisture is in the forecast this year for June, this month is typically the driest one of the year. 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. Also, pinch plants, mulch and weed in the garden.
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 moisten both the plants 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.
A twice-monthly watering with Medina Fish Blend
Put 1-2 tablespoons of Medina Fish Blend in a gallon of water and water new transplants with the mixture. Also, get a good misting bottle and fill it with Medina/water blend and coat the leaves in early morning as the sun is just coming up. You’ll be amazed at how the plants respond. Apply every 10 to 14 days.
Pinching new transplants
Pinching is an invaluable technique for helping to stimulate root growth and create more numerous stems. This helps young plants bloom with more flowers. Typically, recent transplants (annual or perennial) and year-old perennial plants planted last year are most in need of pinching. Pinching is the simple technique of cuttings off the tips of the new growth. June is an ideal month to pinch off the new growth one of two times. When pinching new transplants or established perennials, remove several inches of new growth from the top of the growing stems.
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 much because it is coarse textured and has nutrients that the plants need. Every time you water, it make 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.
A lot of cool season weeds (weeds that grow and flower from early to late spring), if growing in large patches or fields, should be cut down now. This is especially true if you neglected to cut down the cheatgrass in your yard in May. Large roadside patches of brown cheatgrass are explosively flammable and are easily ignited by some jerk driving by and throwing a cigarette butt out the car window. Also be on alert for goatheads, a common weed in disturbed soils and barren patches of dirt, and pull or cut them off at the center root. They are beginning to flower and will soon begin to set their horrible seeds that can puncher bike tires and get stuck in paws.
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