Thoughts on Watering:
Several years ago I took the time to install a drip irrigation system and then hardly ever used it! Wandering my garden in the early morning (often in my bathrobe) is one of my greatest joys; puttering among the flowers, pulling a weed here and there, deadheading the California Poppies. That is also the time I water. I believe plants learn to live without as much water they are often given. If they are watered deeply and infrequently, it encourages them to put down deep roots. Then they can survive the stress of heat and dry better than plants that are watered often and not very deep.
I will spend an hour walking back and forth between a few beds watering deeply and thoroughly. Then I won’t water those beds for a couple of weeks .. unless of course it gets really hot and/or windy. In that case, I will just wander through moistening the mulch so there is more evaporation/humidity for the plants. My other favorite way to water when I don’t have time to wander is to put the hose on a very slow drip, lay it in a bed and leave it for a couple of days .. then move it to another area to be deeply watered. This method works well on all soils except sandy soil! Give me clay soil any day!
Its all about the soil!!
I once read “If you aren’t feeding the soil, you aren’t gardening!” I guess I took it to heart. It is my firm belief that healthy soil full of vitality will give the plants everything they need to fight off disease and insect attacks. Of course a garden completely free of disease and insects isn’t easy to achieve, but it certainly is an ideal worth fighting for. Throughout the year I add the compost from our worm bins into the soil, I make frequent applications of Soil Soup, I add other nutrients in the form of cottonseed meal, alfalfa meal, kelp meal. Occasionally I will purchase some Gardener and Bloome Soil Building Compost just to add a different variety of nutrients.