When beds and flats are watered, the grow biointensive method approximates rainfall as much as possible. The fine rain of water absorbs beneficial airborne nutrients as well as air, helping the growth process. For seeds and seedlings in flats, you can use a special English Haws sprinkling can, which has fine holes in the sprinkler's "rose."3 The rose points up so that when you water, the pressure built up in the rose first goes up into the air, where much of the pressure is dissipated as it flows through the air. The water then softly falls on the plants from above like rain, with only the force of gravity pulling the water down. When watering planting beds, you may employ the same method of spraying water into the air and letting it fall back down, using a water gun or a valve unit with a fan spray nozzle attached.4 (If you use a water gun or a valve unit, you may need a heavy duty hose to contain the water pressure.) This gentle method of watering packs down the soil in the bed less, and the plants are not hit and damaged by a hard water spray. If you choose to point the fan downward, stand as far away from the plants as possible and/or keep the water pressure adjusted to a low point to minimize soil compaction and water damage.

some plants, such as those in the cabbage family, like wet leaves. It is all right, and in fact beneficial, to water these plants from overhead. Other plants, such as tomatoes, peas, and members of the squash and melon families, can suffer from wilt and mildew, and their fruit may rot when their leaves are wet, espe-

  1. Available by mail order from Walter F Nicke, Box 667G, Hudson, NY 12534.
  2. A Ross No. 20 is best.

Watering with a wand: Water falls in a circular pattern on the bed, landing approximately 3 feet from the waterer at its closest point.

Watering with a wand: Water falls in a circular pattern on the bed, landing approximately 3 feet from the waterer at its closest point.

Watering The Vegetables
Watering with a fan: Water falls in an oval pattern on the bed, landing approximately 10 feet away from the waterer. When watering closer, reduce the water pressure.
Haws Fine Rain Watering

cially in foggy or humid climates. Take care when watering these plants to water only the soil around them whenever possible. (In drier climates it probably will not matter.) To avoid spraying a plant's leaves, hold the fan just above the soil and point it sideways. A better method is to use a watering wand, which will allow you to more easily direct the water under the plant's leaves.

Water the beds sufficiently each day to keep them evenly moist. Daily watering washes the dust, grime, and insects from plant leaves and creates a deliciously moist atmosphere conducive to good plant growth and thriving microbial life. (Watering may be more or less frequent when the weather is warmer or cooler than normal.)

Water mature plants in beds when the heat of the day first subsides. This is about 2 hours before sunset during the summer and earlier during the winter. However, weather conditions, especially cloud cover, may necessitate earlier watering. The soil, warmed during the day, warms the cool water from the

Watering tomato plants using a wand.

Watering tomato plants using a wand.

Tomato Plantation Watering Hose

hose so it is more temperate by the time it reaches the plant roots. The roots suffer less shock, and the soil and plants have more time to absorb water during the cooler, less windy night. Also, plants do a significant amount of their growing at night, and this ensures they will have plenty of water to do so. if you water early in the morning, much of the water will be lost in evaporation caused by the sun and wind, and the watering will be less effective. The loss will be even greater if you water at midday. If you water in the evening, the plants will be more susceptible to mildew and rust problems due to unevaporated water left on their leaves. By watering in the late afternoon, the water can percolate into the soil for 12 hours or more before the sun and wind reappear in strength. when they do, the bed will have a good reservoir of water from which the plants can draw before their next watering.

Seeds and seedlings in flats and immature plants in the growing beds may have to be watered in the morning and at noon as well as late in the afternoon. Until the living mulch effect occurs, the flats and beds dry out more rapidly. When the leaves grow closer together, less watering will be required.

To determine how much water to give a bed each day, strive for a V2- to 15-second "shiny."5 When you first begin to water, a shiny layer of excess water will appear on top of the soil. if you stop watering immediately, the shiny layer will disappear quickly. You should water until the shiny layer remains for V2 to 15 seconds after you have stopped watering. The actual time involved will differ depending on your soil's texture. The more clayey the texture, the longer the time will be. A newly prepared bed with good texture and structure will probably have enough water when a V2- to 3-second shiny is reached. A newly prepared clayey bed may indicate that it has enough water with a 3- to 5-second shiny, since a clayey soil both retains more moisture and lets the water in less rapidly. A month-old bed (which has compacted somewhat due to the watering process) may require a 5- to 8-second shiny, and beds 2 to 3 months old may require more than that. A 2- to 4-month-old bed may require a longer shiny.

Eventually the watering process will become automatic, and you will not have to think about when the bed has received enough water; you will know intuitively when the point has been reached. Remember to allow for the different natures of plants. Squash plants, for instance, will want a lot of water in comparison to tomato plants. One way to determine whether you have watered enough is to go out the next morning and poke your finger into the bed. if the soil is evenly moist for the

5. Another simple way to estimate the amount of water a bed is receiving is to first measure the gallons delivered per minute. Turn the hose on, and point the spray into a 1-gallon jar or a

4-quart watering can. if, for example, it takes 15 seconds to fill the jar, then you know you are delivering 4 gallons per minute to the bed. Currently, in our moderately heavy clay, we find each

5-feet by 20-feet bed will take anywhere from 5 to 20 gallons daily (10 gallons on the average), depending on the weather, the type of plant, the size of the plants, and the tightness of the soil.

first 2 inches and continues to be moist below this level, you are watering properly. If the soil is dry for part or all of the first 2 inches, you need more shiny. If the soil is soggy in part or all of the upper 2 inches, you need less shiny.

Remember also to adjust your watering according to the weather. A bed may lose more moisture on a cloudy, windy, dry day than on a hot, clear, humid, and still one. And there are times when the flats and beds need no water or need watering twice a day. It is important to note these differences and to become sensitive to the plants' needs. You should water for good fruit, flower, and seed production, not just so the plant will stay alive. Be sure to water the sides and ends of the planting beds more than the middle. These areas, which many people miss or underemphasize, are critical because they are subject to more evaporation than the middle of the bed. Newly dug but still unplanted beds should be watered daily so they will not lose their moisture content. A transplant in a bed that has a low moisture level (except in the recently watered upper 2 inches or so) will have difficulty growing well because of the dry pan below. If you wait until plants are wilting and drooping before you water them, they will revive but they will have suffered some permanent damageā€”an open invitation for pests and diseases. Slight drooping, however, is not usually a sign that you should water. Plants are just minimizing water loss (due to transpiration) when they droop on a hot day, and watering them at this time will increase water loss rather than lessen it. It will also weaken the plant through too much pampering.


It is important to realize that we are watering the soil, so that it may thrive as a living sponge cake. We are not watering the plants. The soil in turn then "waters" the plants. Keeping the soil alive will help retain water and minimize the water consumed.

How To Can Tangy Tomatoes

How To Can Tangy Tomatoes

Interested In Canning Juicy Tomatoes? Here's How You Can Prepare Canned Tomatoes At Home. A Comprehensive Guide On Tomato Canning. The process of canning tomatoes at home has been a family tradition with many generations. Making home canned or home tinned tomatoes is something that is remembered by families for years! You must have surely seen your granny canning tomatoes at home in order to prepare for the approaching winters. In winters, one is usually unsure of getting fresh tomatoes.

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