Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Impact of Water and Timing on Veggie Gardening by Gardener Cumax

Note: This is the third (and final) in a series by Gardener Cumax. You might also want to read: "The Impact of Soil on Veggie Gardening" (8/28/10) and "The Impact of Sun on Veggie Gardening" (9/9/10).
Life is a bowlful of tomatoes. Italian Heirloom, Mortgage Lifter, Crnkovic, German Pink (the original SSE offering) and Redfield Beauty compete for attention
All plants need it. Duh! And yet do not overlook this important variable: save for xeric plants, plants use water in proportion to the amount of light they receive. Cloudy days means plants need less water, but only if your soil is poor! If your soil is absolutely awesomely fertile, then too much water isn't even an issue on overcast days!

Timing is everything and it’s the one variable that I personally have to meditate on after reviewing the weather report. Whether I sow seeds or transplant seedlings, timing is everything.

Assuming you have a healthy seedling that has been hardened off, you can transplant it knowing that it will do very well. The seedlings at Applewood Community Garden were transplanted in mid-May and got that awesome early morning sun each day.

My seedlings at home were transplanted in late May and early June. Because of the huge silver maple tree towering over the eastern boundary of the garden, direct sunshine didn’t start until 11:00 a.m. The Applewood seedlings had a two week head start on root growth, and extra morning sunshine. That time period also gave the seedlings extra valuable sunshine.

My math:
Sunshine time at Applewood is 6:00 am - 8:00 pm = 14 hours
Sunshine time at my garden is 11: 00 am - 8:00 pm = 9 hours
That's 5 hours difference. Applewood gets 35% more sunshine than my garden.

During the monsoon season my garden gets less sunshine than Applewood by far. This is because the clouds come in around 2:00 – 3:00 in the afternoon. That amounts to roughly only 4 hours of direct sunlight.

This impacted my veggies more than my nightshades because they grow at night. Those are tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and potatoes.

All in all it has been very enjoyable summer of learning deeper applications of right plant, right place.