Back to Back Issues Page
In the Gardens & Watering Do's and Don'ts
July 16, 2012

"Hey open the door, it's hot out here", the young mantis appears to be says.

The past week was a bit of a challenge around here.

I'm still getting used to my new eye-glasses, I picked up a week ago.

Anyone that wears glasses understands that.

I get a new computer this past week.

The hard drive was going bad, so the Geeks suggest a new computer.

I'm not gifted when it comes to machines, as I'm still trying to figure out everything on this new computer.

Trying to find hidden stuff, locating the bells and whistles.

Microsoft wants to control everything.

Google wants in on the action.

I Can't Find My Stuff.

Thanks for understanding.

What really hurt, was the price of everything.

The tech work, guarantees, and such cost almost as much as the new computer.

Finally,I get back online, only to have the AC. go out.

Thankfully it was only a new motor and not a new unit.

We were without AC. for almost two and one half days.

It could've been worse financially and time wise.

Part of Yolanda's brain injury affects her body's thermostat.

Yes, she gets cold quick, the real danger lies in overheating.

Her thermostat can Que to start running at any time and anything over 84 degrees seems to set it off.

The house never got above 82 degrees and humidity was low.

Once it was fixed, the humidity seemed to kick in and air temperatures climbed.

A bit of financial set back but God's timing with the weather................. always in control.

Yes, the heat continues and so does the drought.

Much of the United States is suffering from a lack of rain and some locations are under a watering ban.

I lived through watering bans before.

Right now, I seem to spend more time watering than on anything else.

People, we need to pray for some good, day long, soakings.

Remember to keep fresh water for your wildlife, live stock, and keep pets inside as much as possible.

Caring for animals (even wildlife) is a responsibility we must take seriously.

I suppose the subject matter this week is a no brainer.

Still, if you are new to gardening or always did things a certain way........................

This may be for you.

In The Gardens, Water and More.


With the early start, and as long as the food supplies hold out, many species of birds will attempt an extra clutch.

Why not?

A mild winter meant fewer die offs in both birds and insects and some animals.

Some insects have but one generation a year or two, however, most mate several times a year and the offspring mate and reproduce as well.

An early start results is more bugs (good and bad) as I'm sure you have noticed.

(Katydid pictured)

Even wasps and bumble bees are more prolific for this time of year.

While pollinators will nectar from most plants, the cast of characters that are hosts are limited and this isn't good.

According to 'Monarch Watch', even the butterflies arrived a few weeks early (true here) and this can bode well for a possible bumper crop and maybe the last one for this decade as habitat continues to decline.

With many of us in extended dry periods or drought conditions, getting everything watered is a challenge.

I've been spending much of my time attempting to keep everything watered and looking good.

Still, even though I can water, the heat still takes its toll on plant life.

Not only are bloom times ahead of schedule, the heat shortens the life of the flowers and shortens the flowering time of many perennials.

This leaves spots that are void of color and ruins the schemes we attempt to create.

For me, annuals play a big roll, yet they too are struggling to get established and grow.

What's a gardener to do?

I suggest finding perennials that have an extended or all season long bloom period if you continue to deadhead.

Plants like Coreopsis, Gaillardia, Coneflowers, Agastache, Rudbeckias and so on.

Many of these native plants take the heat and are considered drought tolerant once established.

(Yet another reason to plant native when 'Gardening For Wildlife'.)


All of life needs water to live.

Many of you already know about watering plants.

Still, many do not and I hope this helps out.

I've been asked and I notice on some of the forums, about watering, and some drought tolerant plants.

First let me say this..................

Drought tolerant does not mean drought resistant.

Drought tolerant plants still need regular watering the first year of growth and transplanting.

A good, deep root system is what makes these plants tolerant of many dry conditions.

Native plants fit the bill more so than exotic plants.

Water deep and thorough.

Often this means a slow trickle or extended time with a sprinkler.

Know your plants and understand root depth and drip-lines

know your soil.

Is it a dense clay, or more like sand?

Do you have a rich soil that is full of water retaining organic matter?

All of these play into how often you must water.

A healthy and deep root system means a Long and Deep Soaking, for maximum plant health.

Deep watering allows for roots to go deep to look for water and food. Several shallow watering's make for weak roots and weak plants.

A plants drip-line is where the branches extend out to.

Many plants have roots that grow beyond this line, but this is a good measuring stick for trees, shrubs and flowers.

Watering deep means fewer times you spend watering.

Know the depth of plant root.

For example.......

Most lawn grass has a shallow root system of no more than four inches.

You want to water no more than 5 inches.

Any more is a waste of water.

Most veggies and flowers fall into the six to ten inches of root depth.

This means watering one to two inches (inch of water should soak down to about six inches.

Tree root extent several feet down and need a good soaking once in a while in dry conditions or the tree will simply go into dormancy and drop all of its foliage early.

Trees require several hundred gallons of water, are you up for the task:-)

Side Note:

This is where planting like need plants in a common area come into play.

To figure how much your sprinkler or irrigation system is putting out, place several containers (same size bowls, tuna fish cans, etc.) in a given area.

Adjust your watering time accordingly.

When you stand there with the hose in hand and sprinkle for a few moments here and there, you are only teasing your plants.

Water Deep.

A couple of items more.

When is the best time of day to water?

Morning and the early part of the day is always best.

The most important reason I know of is fungus and diseases.

Many plant ailments are airborne fungal spores, and attach to plants when the leaves are wet or water splashes up onto the foliage.

When watering in the early part of the day, it allows for water on the foliage to evaporate quickly, minimizing a good outbreak of powdery mildew.

Why shouldn't I water during mid-day?

You can water in the heat of the day.

However, you lose much more water to evaporation (especially with sprinklers).

And, water spot on the foliage has a tendency to act as a magnifying glass and leaves little brown or burn spots on the foliage (not all that attractive).

Late day and evening water is an option (I am guilty of this at times).

There is less evaporation

You may be at a more leisurely pace.

You work days and this is the only time you can water.

All great answers.

May I suggest this?

Water as early in the evening as you can, to allow for water to dry from the foliage.

Make efforts to water the soil only (for plants and flowers).

Again, fungus and other issues come into play when foliage is wet to often.

Fungus thrives in such conditions (warm days, cooler damp nights).

I've Heard it Before:

"But sometimes it rains at night, what am I to do?"

Not a thing, but thank God for the rain.

It isn't everyday we get rains during the night, we do often water daily in the evening.

"I fertilize my plants regularly to help them grow strong."

One of the worse things you can do for your plants and lawns during a 'Heat Wave' is to stress them out even more by feeding them.

Forcing new growth when a plant wants to naturally take it slow put nothing but stress on it, and again I say............

"Stressed plants are susceptible to many bad things."

Once again I am long winded, but hopefully I could answer a few of your questions.

Remember to treat All transplants as new plantings.

This means regular watering for at least the first year and two years for trees.

Well, it is once again time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.

God Bless.

We must find time to stop and thank the people who have made a difference in our lives.

Dan Zadra

Give our Creator some time and thank Him for His goodness.

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!

Psalm 107:1

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

Back to Back Issues Page