This weekly column is being reproduced with the permission of Steve Smith, The Whistling Gardener, and owner of Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville.
"Wow, what a corker this weekend was."
I am pretty sure that I spent 90% of my weekend on the end of a hose. Of course when you are responsible for 15,000 plants it's no surprise that watering is top priority. But even in my garden I had a hose running somewhere the entire weekend. My goal was to build up a reserve of moisture in the soil to keep my plants hydrated through the next several days.
Just in case you haven't put a shovel in the soil recently, our gardens are bone dry once you dig beyond 6 inches.
Soaker hose watering will be the hot topic for this week after this extremely hot and humid weekend. Even if we get the cooling and possible showers they are predicting it will still be necessary to get some additional water on our gardens.
Depending on how religiously we have amended our soils over time, our watering techniques will either be slow and steady with some kind of soaker hose ( I love the new Gilmour flat soaker hoses) or more focused and intense with an oscillator or impact sprinkler or with my favorite sprinkler of choice, the Gilmour gentle fan sprinkler.
Either way, the trick is to water until there is runoff and then wait for the water to soak in and repeat the process. And by the way, the only way you will know how deeply you have watered is to dig a test hole and check the moisture. I suspect you will be surprised at how little water has actually penetrated into your soil.
Based on the extremely good sales this weekend I am happy to report that most of you are not afraid to continue to plant in your gardens. Perhaps my years of ranting about how it is perfectly okay to plant through the summer has finally sunk in!
Proper watering and good soil amending will always result in success regardless of the time of the year we choose to plant. To help with water retention we are selling our bales of compost at a "buy 3 and get one free" special for the next week or so.
If you plant all your containers at the same time then they will usually crap out at the same time so why not plant a new one every month throughout the summer so you have a nice succession of interest.
There are plants in the nursery in July that were not available in April and May that if planted now will give you 3-4 months of enjoyment. If you spend $100 that is only $25 to $33 a month which is around a dollar a day. Pretty cheap entertainment if you ask me. It is certainly less than a latte a day.
Free landscape design is back for the summer. Spend $100 on plants and you can sit down with our designer for an hour for free. This is a great way to get the right plant in the right place which will save you a ton of money in the long run. Call to set up an appointment today. Consultations are on most Saturdays throughout the summer.
Remember, we are closed this Thursday to celebrate July 4th Independence Day and there are no classes this coming weekend.
Steve Smith is owner of Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville and can be reached online at firstname.lastname@example.org.