Wise up on watering
Did you know that how you water your vegetables can have an effect on their growth?
How much you water your plants and the way you irrigate them can result in both a waste of water and lead to poor results with your vegetables, especially carrots. Even if there has been plenty of rain in the summer rainfall areas, there are always dry spells, and gardeners in the winter rainfall regions of the country should take extra precautions with their plants during the heat of summer.
Avoid rushing through the vegetable garden with a handheld hosepipe after work and giving the plants a quick application of water. This will result in the surface being puddle and compacting, with not enough water penetrating the surface.
Leading vegetable gardening expert, Bill Kerr, says the right way to water plants is to give them a good amount at the root zone. “Most roots are found at a depth of 25-30cm and a rule of thumb is to apply 25-30mm of water to wet this depth,” says Bill. “Therefore, 1mm wets approximately 1cm of soil. This should be applied approximately weekly but will depend on the amount of foliage and prevailing conditions,” he says.
Image on the right: Carrots
To determine whether the soil is receiving the right amount of water, dig down with a spade to a depth of about 25cm. Often, if you are using a handheld hose to water, you will be surprised to see how dry the soil is below the 25cm level!
Tips: Vegetable garden
- Avoid watering with a sprinkler on a windy day – you will lose about 40% of the water!
- The best time to water is in the early morning or late afternoon – watering during the heat of day will result in most of the water being lost to evaporation.
- Vegetables like potatoes which have a restricted root system and a high consumption can be given additional water with a hose along the row rather than to irrigate the whole area unnecessarily.
Did you know
Sensitive crops like lettuce can, if wilted, suffer shock if irrigated in the heat of a very hot day?
Vegetables to plant in February and March
Beans, beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, garlic, lettuce, onions, parsnips, rhubarb, spinach, turnips.