When and how much should I water?

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When working at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden on the “Garden Hotline” one of the questions that I found most vexing was: How often and for how long should I water my native plant garden?

The problem, you see, is that there are so many questions that need to be answered before a satisfactory reply can be made. Which plants? How old are they? Where do you live? What are the soil conditions? And on and on. The correct answer, however, is surprisingly simple: Water your plants when they need it. Experienced gardeners actually do water in this way. They know what their plants should look like at different times of the year and can spot drought-stress with a glimpse. For novices it is not so easy.

For more information on how to water plants check out the garden tips: factors that affect water needs of plants, and how to water new and established native plant gardens. If you are an experienced gardener, please let me know if  you have any other suggestions. If you are a novice, please let me know if these tips are clear.

Checking the weather report for Wild Suburbia (from here in India) it appears that so far this winter  rainfall is below average. Remember to provide extra water even for mature native plant gardens if the rain does not materialize. Although the plants may not look stressed, most native plants need a significant amount of water during the wet season to withstand the long period of hot, dry weather to come.

Finally, another picture of the vegetable garden at St. Catherine’s Home in Andheri-west, Mumbai that I have had the opportunity to work in along with other volunteers for SPROUTS Environmental Trust. We will be leaving Mumbai on Saturday for two months of travel, so it is likely the blog will be quiet for some time. Until later, Namaste.

SPROUTS intern, Sujata, working in the vegetable garden.