Garden, Plant, Cook!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Grab the meter to check soil moisture

Dear folks,

Worth repeating tip.

It is that time of year as we transition into cooler air and soil temperatures that the moisture content of the garden can fluctuate widely.

The same conditions occur in the reverse in Spring when we transition into hot times in the valley.

Today, for instance, we are having high "Albuquerque" style winds and this will desicate the most hardy plant surfaces and top soil. Interim watering may be needed if you are on a set schedule.

At other times you may find the cool nights and milder days have not caused as much evaporation, so you need to make sure you are not keeping the soil soggy, which contributes to root rot and mineral leach.

Moisture meter to the rescue! This really is one of THE most important tools in a gardener's kit - and instantly helpful as it gives you an immediate reading of the soil moisture, whether ground or container.

Generally, 2-3 on the dry side is time to water most edibles. Some exceptions are mint and new seedlings or transplants, which may need a bit more constant moisture (that does not mean soggy, folks).

Meters come in plain/simple - just the moisture content; and more bells - moisture, light and pH. Most edibles here in the valley are not that sensitive to pH levels, but the light component of these types of meters are helpful for those of you trying to find the best placement for container gardens. Remember all the edibles need 4-6 hours of direct sun a day.

Pictured here is the simple kind. This link takes you to a purchasing/detail page on Amazon. I'm happy to report, though, that most of the garden nurseries in the valley carry at least the simple version of this meter.

. . .

Reminder service to better gardening success in the Valley. Folks there is only about a week left to get the reminder service permanently at the reduced rate of $15/year. Click here for information and to sign up. That page also directs you to other locations which may benefit out of state family members with similar growing conditions. You can give the reminder service as a gift - just specify that in notes when payment is made.

Have a great time in the fall garden,

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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