One crucial question often arises in gardening: when is the best time to water your garden?
Mark Valencia, a retired Australian Army veteran and a passionate advocate for self-sufficiency, offers expert insights on this topic.
With years of experience and a dedicated following on his blog and YouTube channel, Valencia’s advice is not just about plant care but a holistic approach to gardening that intertwines with his philosophy of self-reliance.
The Morning Advantage
Valencia strongly recommends morning watering as the most effective practice. This preference is rooted in two fundamental benefits.
First, watering in the early hours, especially in warmer climates or during the summer months, minimizes water evaporation.
This efficiency ensures that more water soaks into the soil, reaching the roots of the plants rather than evaporating into the air.
The second benefit is related to plant health. Morning watering equips plants with the necessary hydration to face the day’s heat and potential dry winds.
Valencia draws an analogy to human behavior, noting, “If we’re not rehydrated, we’re going to feel it a lot more.”
Dealing with Missed Mornings
But what happens if you miss the morning window for watering?
Valencia addresses this familiar scenario by dispelling a prevalent myth: watering plants during the hottest part of the day will not burn them.
He advises gardeners to water their plants as needed, regardless of the time of day or temperature.
He acknowledges that some plants may wilt in extreme heat despite being watered, but they often recover as temperatures drop later in the day.
Evening Watering Considerations
Evening watering is a viable alternative, but it comes with specific considerations. Valencia emphasizes the importance of the watering technique during the evening.
Directing water at the base of the plants, rather than the foliage, is crucial to prevent the onset of diseases, particularly fungal infections.
He warns that leaving leaves wet overnight can create an environment conducive to disease spread.
The Therapeutic Nature of Hand Watering
Valencia also sheds light on the therapeutic aspects of hand watering. This practice is not just about plant care; it’s a form of therapy offering a chance to connect with nature and the garden.
Hand watering allows for more precise water distribution, catering to the varying needs of plants and soil types within a garden.
This targeted approach ensures that each plant receives the attention and resources it needs to thrive.
The Perils of Overwatering
Another vital aspect of Valencia’s guidance is the risk associated with overwatering. Just as detrimental as under-watering, overwatering can lead to root rot and other diseases.
Valencia offers a simple yet effective method to determine watering needs: the finger test. By inserting a finger into the soil up to the second knuckle, one can feel for moisture.
If the soil feels dry at that depth, it’s a clear indication that watering is necessary.
Taking everything into account, Valencia’s approach to watering gardens is multifaceted.
While he advocates for morning watering, he also recognizes the importance of flexibility and understanding the unique needs of each garden.
His advice goes beyond plant care; it’s about fostering a deeper connection with the environment and embracing a self-sufficient lifestyle. As Valencia succinctly puts it, “It’s that simple.”
His guidance ensures the garden’s health and encourages gardeners to engage more intimately with the natural world.