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Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015
Garden wisdom or something else?Posted Sunday, August 19, 2007, at 7:12 PM
One of our little visitors.
Now let's see how much I can remember because in between we moved our daughter to her apartment for college, ate a big lunch, and went through the lethargy that comes from eating too much. Here goes.
While trying to sustain the few annuals, vegetables and perennials we have, I thought about the conventional wisdom of watering. Water from below to conserve water and avoid the proliferation of molds and diseases that come from water on the leaves and splattering of soil-borne bad guys and then it hit me.
Actually it has hit me numerous times this summer as I repeated the watering ritual. Nature rarely waters from below!! Sure the roots take up water, but the leaves do too. Plants that have hairy leaves were somehow holding their own in this drought, when plants right next to them were dying. I presume it is from their ability to gather moisture from the dews.
Each time I water, I certainly try to conserve the precious liquid, but I started noticing how many insects and birds were showing up at watering time. After the leaves got wet, they would come in for their drink. The hummingbirds would fly into the spray and hover or sit on the plant I was watering.
Honey bees (a rare sight lately) were gathering on the water lily pads and stepping up for water. A black snake was laying half in and half out of the water. Wasps, bees of all types, butterflies were coming in to enjoy.
I now water the leaves as much as the soil. I let the water drip, as it would in a rain to the soil below. Of course I do so in the morning so there is plenty of time to dry off, but the plants AND the insects are bouncing back. Plant leaves are cleaned by rain as well, so this method of watering provides and extra benefit.
Do I waste some water? Maybe, or maybe my plants get more use from what they get than drip irrigation. I never have figured a precise way of judging that method either, so ……..
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Steve Mills and his wife have one daughter and live on a farm outside of Bell Buckle. They previously owned two coffee/ice cream shops, currently operate an internet sales company and teach classes, but his primary job involves the paper industry worldwide. Hobbies and interests lie in gardening, photography, recorded music and of course, their pets.
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