The dust I kicked up when I tilled my garden this morning had me thinking that this has been the driest spring I’ve experienced since I started gardening in this area some 30 years ago. The cabbage and Brussels sprouts I set out a few days ago need almost daily watering lest they wilt in this parched earth.
If you decided this is going to be your year to plant trees, shrubs, perennials, or all of the above, be sure to water them frequently. Normally they say an inch of water per week, but I think to get them established you better give them a good soaking at least twice per week. A thick (4 inches) mulch of wood chips, leaves, grass clippings or straw will help conserve the moisture.
If you’re planting anything out in the vegetable garden this Memorial Day weekend or throughout the week, be sure to water well and frequently. There doesn’t appear to be any rain in the forecast and there is definitely no moisture in the ground.
There are several ways to water, the most efficient, I believe is with a “water wand” that can direct the water right to the roots of a plant. For a vegetable garden, I like the soaker hoses. I prefer to water new seedlings with a watering can with warm water I scoop out of a 50 gallon plastic barrel.
If you are planning on committing yourself to a long term watering program in your lawn I think it is best to invest in a lawn irrigation system, such as the DIY system from Auto Rain Lawn Gear. This relatively inexpensive system will pay for itself in a short time, not to mention saving you a lot of time that you can spend on other summer pursuits. Give me a shout if you want more information on this irrigation system.
I don’t mean to add to the doom and gloom, but it is also expected to get much cooler later in the week, so watch for the danger of frost. Generally speaking, if they’re calling for temps in the 30’s, I cover everything and bring the baskets and containers into the garage or greenhouse. The exception is things like lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, red beets and rutabaga, which can take a light frost. Everything else should be covered with whatever you can find: buckets, plastic, old bed sheets, ect. If you fail to cover and we get a light frost over night, you can try washing the frost off the foliage of the plant with a garden hose before the sun comes up.
On the upside, the weather has been warm which makes it favorable for working outside.
Hang in there and happy gardening!