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Watering to much or not enough - Page 2 Toplef10Watering to much or not enough - Page 2 1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

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Watering to much or not enough

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walshevak
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Post  yolos 6/5/2014, 2:05 pm

Gloria G and Boffer - thanks for the conversion info.  I am currently using the hose and a wand to water.  I stand there watering and watering and watering  and try to determine if the MM is wet thru and thru without bending over and sticking my finger in the soil.  I try and count the seconds to make sure each square gets its share because by the end of the watering time I am getting tired of it and the last squares won't get as much water as the first squares so I have to count.  But then I forget I am supposed to count half the time and who wants to stand there counting while watering. 

Gloria G, if you watered by the cup you would have to bend over 400 times to water your squares.  Make that 800 times (bend over to get a cupful of water and then bend over again to put the water in the square times 400 squares).  Yikes.  Good exercise but gardening is supposed to be fun.  Heck, half the fun is figuring out things like how much water you are getting each minute etc.
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Post  boffer 6/5/2014, 2:52 pm

yolos wrote:... Heck, half the fun is figuring out things like how much water you are getting each minute etc.

Agreed.  Work smarter, not harder.

I'm sure watering by the cup works.  I'm also sure that the idea was included in the book as a folksy, romantic, whimsical idea to help market the book.  We've had a number of newcomers, bound and determined to SFG by the book, who gave up the cup idea after just a few attempts because it just wasn't practical.
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Watering to much or not enough - Page 2 Empty Ouch, my head

Post  Windmere 6/5/2014, 2:54 pm

All of this is making my head swim.  I am able to see what folks are saying though.  I am primitive.  I do the finger test...  water a lot... and hope for the best.  One thing I remember well from the book though.  MM is very forgiving when you overwater (the biggest offense of most gardeners).

Page 152 has a section called "Don't Drown Me."

Mel says, "With Mel's Mix you cannot overwater.  Remember the sponge?  Each little piece can hold moisture so a plant root can grow around that piece and take out the moisture when needed.  When that little sponge gets saturated, the rest of the water drains right out through the bottom.  That's how Mel's Mix works, and that's why you never have to worry about giving your plants too much water."

Mel goes on to warn that with MM you need to water more often than with regular methods.  So... I guess my biggest problem might be wasting water by using too much because I am overly concerned with water levels.  While my water bill has not gone up too much, I don't want to waste.  I make myself feel better by reasoning that any excess water is keeping the grass surrounding my boxes nice and green.

 Watering to much or not enough - Page 2 1787710427
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Post  jrfrommd 6/5/2014, 3:13 pm

I was advised an 1" per week.unless it gets real HOT & DRY..not sure how it equates on MM
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Post  jrfrommd 6/5/2014, 3:16 pm

boffer wrote:
johnp wrote:...What I wonder is who came up with the statement that vegies need one inch per week?...


The one inch per week number is from the row gardening world.  I have no idea how applicable it is to SFG.   Since a lot of them water with sprinklers, it's easy enough to just set a tin can in the middle of the garden to physically measure the amount of water delivered.

Don't know if this relevant, but I'll mention it anyhow: When setting up a new box, it takes about 1 gallon of water to properly saturate a square foot (6 inches deep) of MM.

johnp wrote:... I think I will just check the MM and water when it needs it. Smile

LOL +1  me too
the 1gallon per sq ft on new boxes i hadn't heard...from Mels book?
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Post  boffer 6/5/2014, 3:17 pm

The book is the beginning of a journey, not a final destination.  

Some folks like to try new routes.  Heck, look at the detailed discussions we've had about compost.  Those folks are having fun and may come up with something that's a good improvement to SFG.  Same with watering: lots of different ways to go about it, and for the ultimate in convenience, one can buy watering grids from the SFG store.  

As for me, a wand and a finger get the job done just fine!
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Post  boffer 6/5/2014, 3:27 pm

jrfrommd wrote:
boffer wrote:...When setting up a new box, it takes about 1 gallon of water to properly saturate a square foot (6 inches deep) of MM...
the 1gallon per sq ft on new boxes i hadn't heard...from Mels book?

We've only had one forum member (furbalsmom) who had the time and patience to measure the water used to saturate a new box of MM.

Obviously, the moisture content of the ingredients will play a big factor in determining the amount of water needed. But a lot of first timers under-water their first boxes, so having a rough idea of the amount of water needed will get them close.
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Post  walshevak 6/5/2014, 4:41 pm

the ultimate in convenience, one can buy watering grids from the SFG store.  




Not anymore.  


Kay

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Post  Marc Iverson 6/5/2014, 9:35 pm

boffer wrote:The book is the beginning of a journey, not a final destination.  

Some folks like to try new routes.  Heck, look at the detailed discussions we've had about compost.  Those folks are having fun and may come up with something that's a good improvement to SFG.  Same with watering: lots of different ways to go about it, and for the ultimate in convenience, one can buy watering grids from the SFG store.  

As for me, a wand and a finger get the job done just fine!

Well and timely said!

I may have a shorter finger than you do, though.
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Watering to much or not enough - Page 2 Empty what a gorgeous

Post  kauairosina 6/5/2014, 11:25 pm

array of produce Boffer.  Yum.  Inspiring.
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Post  shegardens 6/6/2014, 12:08 am

Thanks Marc and everyone

It rained so much here the last few days that I've not had to wonder too much about my watering options...
hopefully I'll get the hang of it
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Post  Turan 6/6/2014, 12:13 am

I found that under watering was my big problem.  I use an auto timer and a pulsing sprinkler and some soaker hoses.  Half an hour every noon during the hot part of the summer seems about right.  I love the automatic timer.  Means I can leave and be fairly sure the garden is being watered.  Very Happy

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Watering to much or not enough - Page 2 Empty Semi-desert, drought and heat waves

Post  No_Such_Reality 6/7/2014, 7:46 pm

sanderson wrote:I have a feeling that the MM is not moist at the bottoms of the pots, even though I water daily, and the water runs out the bottoms.  I checked a pot tonight, down about 5 ", and it was dry, and I had just soaked it!  I may have to re-hydrate the MM by using trays/saucers for a day or two.  I learned that leaving the trays under the pots leads to stinky roots and mix, but I think for a few hours it will be okay.

MM is nasty that way here in SoCal.  If a heat wave or Santa Ana wind gets ahead of you and creates a dry spot that you don't successfully saturate out it acts like a cyst that grows and grows. 

With drip irrigation I've seen it moist the whole way down and 3 inches over one inch below the surface dust ready to blow in the wind it is so dry. 

Our heat waves already and overall dryness due to drought is drying the MM even faster..
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Post  Marc Iverson 6/8/2014, 1:20 am

I've found the same thing, but that mulching has made a huge, huge difference. It slows evaporation a heck of a lot, often giving me a chance to catch up on the watering in time. Only thing is, I also notice that it's easy to put in so much water that the mulch looks super-soaked, but the soil really isn't yet. The mulch absorbs some water all by itself, and slows the water's percolation down into the soil. So I try to remember that the idea is to soak the soil, not just the mulch!
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Post  yolos 6/8/2014, 9:58 am

Marc Iverson wrote:I've found the same thing, but that mulching has made a huge, huge difference.  It slows evaporation a heck of a lot, often giving me a chance to catch up on the watering in time.  Only thing is, I also notice that it's easy to put in so much water that the mulch looks super-soaked, but the soil really isn't yet.  The mulch absorbs some water all by itself, and slows the water's percolation down into the soil.  So I try to remember that the idea is to soak the soil, not just the mulch!

+1  .  That sure is the truth.  The answer is soaker hose or drip irrigation under the mulch.  I have two beds that have soaker hoses under the mulch but everything else I have to hand water thru the shredded straw mulch.  I have found that pine needles let water thru much easier than straw.
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Post  Kelejan 6/8/2014, 10:20 pm

I have just got myself a moister meter(cost me $1 at the flea Market this morning), which I now realize is not a water meter.
What I would like to know is how moist should one's MM etc be?  My meter has a simple measure from 0 - 10.  When I dip it in a glass of water it measures 10, when I dry it and hold it in the air the measurement is between a 5 and 6.  Most of my beds are showing  a 6 +. Some pot plants I have just repotted this afternoon are showing nearly 10.
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Post  Marc Iverson 6/9/2014, 12:26 am

That's a little odd. The ones I see have a faceplate behind the needle, showing a bar or half-moon divided into sections: dry, moist, and wet.

Could you check out the manufacturer's website or a place like Amazon that sells your type online and check the description or customer comments for what the particular numbers on your model mean? Works quite often.
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Post  yolos 6/9/2014, 8:33 am

Marc Iverson wrote:That's a little odd.  The ones I see have a faceplate behind the needle, showing a bar or half-moon divided into sections:  dry, moist, and wet.

Could you check out the manufacturer's website or a place like Amazon that sells your type online and check the description or customer comments for what the particular numbers on your model mean?  Works quite often.
Mine is digital also.  Reads between 0 and 10 and it comes with a built in normal meter reading for many plants.  But for some reason it does not show vegetables.  Somewhere at home I have a chart that lists vegetables and what their moisture level should be but I doubt I can find it.  I have been going by the following:  Anything over 4 is ok, anything less that 2 should be watered.  Anything inbetween gets the finger test.

My brand is a Rapitest (sp).

Okay, I found the watering guide on-line.  Here is the link for my version of the moisture meter but should work for all Rapitest Moisture Meters.

http://www.lusterleaf.com/img/instruction/1825_instruction.pdf

Looks like I have been wrong.  The wilt point for most vegetables is between 2-4 and anything below this reading should be watered.  But the moisture meter is not very accurate, so I often double check the moisture by putting my finger in the soil to make sure.
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Post  johnp 6/9/2014, 9:59 am

Yolos thanks for the link. I also have a rapitest but for some reason all the information I got was for flowers. Looks like I will water anytime It goes to three or lower. You are right about checking with your finger. I was checking for moisture yesterday and found when I check in the first 1 or 2 inches all the beds read 2 to 3 but if I went down to about 4 inches the beds all read 6 to 8. So I decided not to water and then later we got a half inch of rain and hail. At least I didn't over water. Laughing
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Post  Kelejan 6/9/2014, 1:14 pm

Marc Iverson wrote:That's a little odd.  The ones I see have a faceplate behind the needle, showing a bar or half-moon divided into sections:  dry, moist, and wet.

Could you check out the manufacturer's website or a place like Amazon that sells your type online and check the description or customer comments for what the particular numbers on your model mean?  Works quite often.

I guess I did not explain it very well.  Mine has a clear window then the needle and behind that is the slightly curved bar coloured from almost pale blue to a darker blue. It does not mention dry, moist, wet. Apart from the numerals 0 2 4 6 8 and 10 above  small vertical lines there are no other markings.  There is no room for the odd numerals. It is not a digital instrument.

Edited to add: Looke up my meter on Amazon and could not find anything like it. All the ones for sale looked very modern, mine is just a plain old thing but I think it works well.
I have saved the Rapditest watering guide and will use that to check my plants.
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