by: Charles Dowding

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watering could be really simple subject just putting water giving it to plant and yet this a lot to know about watering and to do it efficiently so that you're not wasting water giving water at the best time of growth and that's all the things that we're looking at here and also this is a video only about hand watering I'm not explaining irrigation systems or setting up drip lines or anything like that for two reasons one is the in in most plots like mine here there are very varied crops and they all need different amounts of water at different stages of growth so this is artis you of any watering system is once it's in place you can't really vary it you've got drip lines coming out at a certain point and you can't vary the flow within that method and the other thing is it's quite expensive and time-consuming actually to set up whereas this approach the time that one spends on hand watering I feel it's really worthwhile because whenever I'm hand watering I always notice things you know I'm all-seeing or that there's a bit of weeding these doing there or tidying up here or pruning there others but pest damage I need to do something to so many many reasons why hand watering is really good and there's one beautiful thing about watering that often puts people off watering on a bright sunny day like this which is sunlight and it's said that you shouldn't water in bright sunlight because the leaves will scorch from Sun passing through the drops of water is don't worry about that it's just not true but if you think about it you know thunderstorm in the summer and then the Sun comes out well all the fields would be scorched so I'm very happy if I need to I'm just doing this is an example and this beetroot here actually doesn't really need any water at this point but I'm just making the point that yeah you can water in bright sunlight the Sun on those drops is not going to hurt those beetroot leaf

to make the most of water precious water we're putting on in the summer months we can prepare ahead in the winter by for example having the soil mulch in this case I'm melting with compost so it actually looks rather like soil but it's organic matter which holds moisture organic matter is like a sponge so that means that when it does rain or when we water it holds on to that water and it doesn't drain through so readily and then it's there for longer for use by plant roots and no dig really helps as well so this soil has not been disturbed or turned up at all in winter spring summer or autumn it's just left like that and that means that there's less exposure to air of the precious moisture which is in there and then another interesting thing is how even with organic matter the surface does dry out even if you've got unwanted organic matter mulches like straw or hay as plants grow they pull the moisture out and so even under the mulch it can become dry and then with a compost much like this the the issue a bit is how well the water soaks in just at first and when I water the first little bit of watering especially if the bed is rounded at all and there's a slope runs off until that surface has become moist and then it can absorb the moisture so then you water again and the water soaks in more so if you are starting from a very dry surface it's better to water a little and let it soak in and then come back and do some more so say you were doing or if I was doing a whole bed like this for example and it's starting very dry I'd work along as stages watering and then come back and do another watering and then maybe a third and even fourth so putting it on bit by bit rather than trying to flood it or when quite a bit will run off so it's a whole little art to doing that and then one last thing is checking it's often surprising when you've put on water and that the surface looks moist and you think right that's it you're done I just have another gander it's quite often surprising how the water is not actually soaking very much and that going back to what I was saying about organic matter holding moisture just a very small amount of area can hold a lot so it doesn't soak in very far so when you water give a good soak and be sure that the water has really soaked in so water more thoroughly less often which actually saves time in the end and you know then that your plants will have moisture for a little while

it's often recommended that one water in the evening so that water has time to soak in and be used by plants overnight not wasting so much but in fact in damp climates further from the equator where there can be other issues with having plants wet in the evening and overnight such as slugs milled you I find it works best to water early in the morning right now and I'm just dropping water on my seedlings that's another thing that sometimes recommended you don't do it's fine to give seedlings like this water from above the if anything it helps them to sort of stiffen up and if you do it in the early morning like this it means that by the evening the leaves and the compost soil are dry so there's less mildew less slugs overnight which is when damage can happen

watering is sometimes making us sound a bit complicated but you can do it like this just dropping water right on leaves these letters are three weeks old they were planted as quite small seedlings it's summer so they grow fast and look at tough the leaves are they happy to have these nice big drops on them or if you want to be more gentle because can do that with the finger over the end of the host and here if this is a meaty plants that needs a lot of moisture to grow northern ISTEP water in their new leaf which they're making all the time I am watering in quite a bit so these have been watered in dry weather every 2 or 3 days and again getting quite a decent drop so that the water is really soaking in a lot just keep making a thin layer on top [Applause]

[Applause] when seedlings are small small plants they're not taking up a lot of space in a bed for example it's more efficient to use the water straight onto their roots so I'll take the Rose off the can and these plants we put in only five days ago in fact so they all their roots are still in a small area just below the leaves therefore particularly if you're wanting to be economical with water it's very good at this stage it hasn't rained since they went in about five days and I've water than either actually so they're ready for a bit of rain and I'm just giving that you can see the water's running off a bit too because the surface is so dry so I'll do this twice but basically just firing a little bit of water into the roots is the most economical and efficient way to get these plants watered at this stage it'll be the second time now when I'm doing that and the water soaking in much better at that point and that's here if I can get a decent amount of water on them and it doesn't rain again for another four or five days you may be three then that will do it

so plants at different stages of road need different amounts of water like these seedlings we've picked out just a week ago still small don't need watering quite so often these quite big narrow in proportion to the amount of compost although they will grow some more yet in fact we can see them fully colonized the compost there but they're still getting to this stage where they need more water and so with little seedlings it is absolutely fine to water on top like that sometimes it's recommended you turn the rows over you don't need to do that that is good and with the bigger ones I'll do them sometimes twice just to make sure that that compost is fully saturated and you fart you also doing that is particularly if you're going away but you can rest calm in the knowledge that your your young plants will have enough moisture in there for a couple of days even I've done this sometimes even being away for three days in sunny weather and they've been okay they haven't been starved of water and one way to check that after watering is lift the tray and feel how heavy it is and in fact that wasn't feeling quite as heavy as I thought it might so just give it a bit more water this is organic compost so the nutrients are not leaching out in the same way as it can with non-organic so I lift it again and it's feeling heavier so yeah that's good

different festivals need different amounts of water and at different stages of their life puzzle is a fascinating example because when it's a seedling it can easily be killed by over watering I know from experience so when they're just germinating little seeds and as you had little young seedling plants in pots or phrase that's need the compost that they're growing it wants to be roughly 50% dry so that there's plenty of air around those little developing roots they're very susceptible to being waterlogged the roots are and then the plants just die they'll keel over and just disappear whereas you keep them big drivers at this stage now that they're fully grown in full leaf they got their roots well down into the compost and then they saw they want plenty of water to make lots of harvest so already we harvested lots of leaves off these basil plants and seven weeks of picking this is now the middle of summer and they started in the late spring so I'm keeping the compost there pretty moist so that they can make lots of leaves and it's a leaf vegetable so vegetables for which we want to keep picking the leaves generally need more water than vessels of which we are picking fruits or roots they don't need quite so much water to do their thing in terms of what we want so this basil and we're going to be harvesting and tomorrow taking off these shoots which we're doing every week and I'm watching it every two days if it's really hot Sun maybe every three days if it's not so sunny twice a week of this a bit cloudy so various options within that but generally keep it well watered at this stage of growth routing vegetables like these runner beans and all naughty beans are best watered when they they're in full flower because at this stage of their growth they're starting to convert flowers into pods which is a bit we want to eat and if they're short of water at this stage the flowers can abort and not make any pod whereas I'm just looking here at you and I can see a little pod on that stalk there for example so that suggests that they are receiving enough water and by contrast next to them are four nutty beans that were actually sown at the same time but are a little bit more dependent on warmth and heat than the traditional British runner bean or pole bean and these Bilotti or French beans are therefore a bit further behind they got hit by some quite vicious winds we had in early June I didn't think they were going to make it actually and then they got nibbled by rabbits as well so they've recovered that they are behind and they're only just starting to fly so I haven't thought about watering them at all until now and I'll wait until probably another week until they're looking quite full of flower and if it doesn't rain before that the end of that week I'll start giving them some water at this stage of growth but not before in terms of how much water they need root vegetables come pretty much bottom of the list because they grow quite slowly and the roots swell gradually over quite a long period of time there's no pressure of water demand to make a fantastic sudden surge of growth and in fact under watered root vegetables are often sweeter have a nicer flavor having said that these these are golden beetroot here which I sowed in April around about the 10th 12th of April and we planted them here as plug seedlings multi sown three or four in a clump on the 1st of May it's no the 18th of July so they've been in the ground two and a half months and if I pull one there's a clump of fall here and you could see the the growth is good so really nice beetroot so it's not been a very wet spring here or anything in fact we've had some quite long dry periods and I just left them be to chug along at their own speed that is a nun watered beetroot golden beetroot and thrown in a clump of four very easy

undercover growing is different times water obviously because it doesn't rain so you need to be more on the case in this case polytunnel or greenhouse whatever it doesn't still need to be every day here for example I'm watering on average every three days through the summer months and in the winter when I grow in salad in here I water no more than once a fortnight in the middle of winter when it's quite dark and the air is damp the plants are not growing very fast so they're not actually using much moisture whereas at this time of year we have lots of leaves and so that's a lot of transpiration going on and I'm watering on average every three days so for example this was last watered in here on Friday now it's Monday I'm even not watering today it's going to happen tomorrow that's a four day interval in the middle of summer when it has not been brilliant Sun so you know giving you all this information which I hope will free you up a bit in terms of you know the pressure of watering right do you need to every day often not seedlings yeah but most plants not and different plants at different stages need different amounts so I hope these Clues are all helping you to do your watering more efficiently save water save time


More from this creator:
When and how to water more efficiently: seedlings, undercover plants, different vegetables and according to the stage of growth. Filmed at Homeacres July 2017 after a long dry spell - after which it rained a lot! Filmed, edited by my son Edward https://www.edowding.net

, more information in my books and website https://www.charlesdowding.co.uk

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