With all this unseasonal rain we’ve been having this year things are much greener than usual and the usual lull in gardening activity hasn’t happened. In fact I can’t remember another year when so much planting was occurring during the dry. It’s great!
The only problem is that these light showers aren’t exactly the same as the true wet season rain we’re used to when it comes to gardening. The big difference is that this isn’t soaking rain, it just wets the surface, but in no way is it enough moisture to sustain a newly planted plant. So don’t get caught out. That little bit of moisture is no way near enough to sustain a plant that hasn’t yet had the chance to get its roots into the surrounding soil.
When you buy a plant it’s growing in a very well draining potting mix and its root system relies on the moisture in this mix for its survival. When planted, this vulnerable young plant relies on you to keep it moist. So obviously sufficient watering is critical. And just assuming that the odd shower is enough may result in a dead plant.
Next time you’re in the garden, get your boot, scuff up the ground, and take a close look. Unless we’ve had a massive downpour, or you’ve been irrigating, I bet it’s only the first centimeter or two that’s actually damp. That’s enough to freshen up those plants that have their roots spread though the soil, but it doesn’t do much for those that still have roots confined to the potting mix they came in.
For newly planted plants you really need to ignore all those light showers and water them just as you would if we had had a normal dry. Give them a good soaking every two days at least until they get their roots established into the surrounding soil. For those of you who live in those areas where you’ve actually had so much rain that the ground has become soaked – I have to say I’m a little jealous.
See you at Yuruga.