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How should I water a sqft garden?

Ray Scheel
9 years ago

Mel recommends a bucket of sun-warmed water and a dipper. You don't shock the plant with cold water this way, you water only your plants and not areas where weeds might want to grow, and you can check on how your plants are doing as you move about the garden watering them. Member.Jaque E TX gave a great explanation of why hand-watering is worth the trouble:

"Some new squarefooters don't understand why we want to get out there with a measuring cup for *every* plant we grow. Some want to keep spraying, or set up drip lines/soaker hoses *outside* the growing squares. Is there a problem with that? There may well be.

Here's what happens if you water your squares at the corners: you make a moist, sunny environment that is ideal for weeds (except for the rich soil). Many of your squares are planted in the middle, with seeds or transplants that just don't reach the edges of the square while they are young. You may stick radish seeds or such along the edges, but that won't stop weed seeds from sprouting alongside them. Giving plenty of water and sun, you may find yourself in a battle - especially if you are set on tilling up those dormant weed seeds from "down under."I never did dare to mulch. (editor's note: because of a huge slug infestation-- most of us swear by mulch!) Yet, with over 130 squares (growing for 10), I averaged 6.5 weed seedlings per *week*!!! (And this with a mild, rainy summer and bermuda grass on all sides.) What was my secret? "If you don't water them, they won't grow...." It was easy for one gardener to care for all those squares, because I only spent about half a minute per square on hand-watering and quick checking. The tiny new weed sprouts came up with a slow, steady, gentle pull - root intact. Just lay it flat in the sun away from water, and "It's mulch, Jim." (Star Trek humor) Each week, I pulled either 6 or 7 sprouted seeds from almost 150 sq ft (~14 m sq) of extra-fine bare soil. Reason? Weeds can't grow without water.
It was a *lot* easier for me to spend an hour twice a week on watering/tending/harvesting than to spend *HOW* long with a hoe, back aching, grubbing up weeds supported by my own cultivation methods.... "

Some of us are lazy, though, and have rigged up soaker hoses and drip systems to water the plants with less of a "personal touch." Others have used empty plastic jugs with holes punched in their bottoms (and the caps loosened and removed) to create low-tech drip irrigation systems. (Fill the jugs, set one in each square, and walk away; come back later to pick up the empty jugs!)


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