Updated: May 5, 2022
As summer approaches, it's time to talk about water!
Especially in Arizona, correctly watering your plants is crucial. Not only is it enjoyable to spend time in your Phoenix Kitchen Garden every day, this can also serve as a time to take notes of any progress or changes. While time outside in the summer may be less than pleasant in the intense Arizona heat, by taking a few minutes daily in the garden, you'll be able to spot dry areas in your bed, broken irrigation lines, and any wilting or discoloration of your plants.
Be an early bird!
It's best to water your plants first thing in the morning. This will keep the water from evaporating and give your garden the moisture it needs when it's able to best absorb it.
Make sure you are watering your plants deeply. This will keep your plant's roots growing down. Having a moisture meter on hand takes out the guess work, and you can find very affordable meters on Amazon.
Make your life easier by planting plants with similar water needs together!
PKG Pro Tip
Check that water is being applied to the roots and not to the foliage. Applying water to the foliage of any plants creates environments for disease.
Ways to water your plants
There are people who are very successful at hand watering. Hand watering with a watering can or hose can be a great way to consistently get out to your garden. People who hand water well are very disciplined folks who I have endless respect for…. I am not one of them.
Plants need to be watered consistently, and making sure they are watered deeply and not over or under watering by hand can be tricky. And while the upfront cost of an irrigation system can be high, the cost of lost plants - and lost sanity - from one day of scorching heat combined with a busy schedule was much higher for my garden.
To schedule watering, people use sprinklers, soaker hoses, and in my case a drip line with a pressure valve, emitters, and a timer.
Sprinklers can be put on timers, but leave room for a lot of evaporation. They also often water the foliage more than the roots - not a good thing. Soaker hoses can be unwieldy in smaller beds, and due to their inability to measure the amout of water emitted, can drench smaller plants.
Drip lines are nice because you can put them on a timer with a pressure valve and place emitters exactly where you need them. The timers allow for low and slow watering, keeping water from sitting on the surface of your soil. The emitters lay flat under foliage ensuring your plants roots are being watered. They are also flexible and allow you to add or remove emitters as needed, or and move them to customize where you are your watering!
Pro Tip: When we have very hot stretches of temps, you may need to supplement your water with irrigation.
If you would like a water plan specific to your garden, just reach out - I'd be happy to provide the water calculation based on the size of containers and types of plants. It takes a little explanation but I'm here to help!
With so many factors that affect the spaces in your garden, this is part of a longer series in PKG Journal articles. Stay tuned for future topics that will discuss soil, water, high traffic areas, mulch, spacing, and more!