E-Mail Ques. How to water plants properly

Hello Dr Myers,
I got your e-mail from htg supply.com where I buy all my nutrients. My
question is how much water do I use to water my plants and how often do
I water ? I am growing my plants in 5-gal buckets, with 80% organic topsoil and 20%
Miracle grow moisture control soil, with a 600 watt hps bulb. Your help
would be GREAT... Thanks

Hi, Thanks for your E-mail.
For any soil container, you should not water until the top of the soil in the container is dry. It is tempting to give your plants lots of water, especially if it has nutrients, but too much of a good thing is too much.
You should designate one container like a cup to water your plants with (any thing even a 16oz plastic party cup). Then get a container to mix nutrients and water. I reuse 1 gallon milk or OJ plastic jugs to mix up the fertilizer. Then, you just pour the fertilizer/water into the cup and when you water, give each plant one cup full of water. After each plant gets one cup, start over with the first plant giving each container one cup of water again. Keep doing this until you see water come out the bottom of the containers. When water comes out the bottom, don't add any more. -- I have found that if you buy the LID with the 5 gallon bucket, it acts as a nice tray to hold a small amount of excess water when placed on the bottom of the bucket -- {You do have holes drilled in the bottom of the bucket for drainage I assume}
Once you see water coming out the bottom, the soil should be saturated and you may not need to water again for another week or more. You are using water holding soil, so your soil will hold onto the water. Make sure after your first good watering (when water comes out the bottom) you don't water again until the soil on top is dry. Over watering plants is the #1 killer of house plants. A good trick is also to rock the bucket, or pick it up to see if it is light. A heavy bucket is full of water and should NOT be watered.

Good Growing,
Dr. E. R. Myers

1 comment:

hillbilly said...

this 16 oz. cup watering is what created my epiphany of what over-watering is. keep in mind i had been container gardening for only 1 year before i tried it, so in 1 year's time i STILL had not learned how much water is too much. not only did it improve growth DRASTICALLY, i found NO FURTHER evidence of dry pockets in the soilless mix i use when i empty the pots after the season ends(there used to be parts of the soil from 2-4 inches where there were NO roots at all - and i assume this probably came from dry pockets). now, it is actually difficult to shake off the root balls because of ultra-dense root rugs! this blog contains some of the most helpful information i've ever found in 1 easy-to-navigate blog before.