Greengirls Helen Yarmoska, Nicole Hvidsten, Martha Buns, Connie Nelson, Kim Palmer and Mary Jane Smetanka are dishin' the dirt from the back-yard garden and beyond. Whether you're a greenthumb or greenhorn, they're eager to learn from your mishaps, mistakes - and most importantly, your sweet successes - all growing season long.
Watering your garden keeps it in good shape in dry weather and keeps you in touch with what's going on in your yard, from fresh blooms to signs of pests. It can be therapeutic to have an excuse to spend time with your garden when you're not bent over weeding it. But when the hot weather and mosquitoes hit at the same time, standing outside with a hose seems less like therapy and more like torture.
That's when our makeshift watering system gets dragged out of its basement winter home, yards and yards of black plastic tubing that have managed to tangle themselves together like holiday light strings. It's far removed from a professionally installed in-ground system, but it's very flexible, doesn't come with anything like the price tag, and there's no worry about frozen pipes. It's just four different off-the-shelf above-ground watering systems that you can find at many hardware or home improvement stores for about $25.
We had started small years ago with a drip system snaked through the herb pots on the patio, set up on a timer to keep them alive during a week-long vacation. The next year we added a line of drip tape through the tomato bed, giving them the slow, more-even watering they need for optimal produce. Later, in a very dry year, we added separate lines of a Simple Soaker system through much of the perennial beds that we can run in case of prolonged drought. All the lines connect to one faucet at a Y fitting, with the drip lines coming off separately from the others, because they need to run at a different frequency and flow rate than the rest of the watering lines. Still to come: a drip line designed to work with the rain barrel.
We keep the vegetable garden lines on a timer to run early in the morning, but we can turn it off depending on the forecast. We don't run the system while it's raining, like those corporate in-ground sprinkler systems that run rain or shine. We're more than happy to let Mother Nature take care of the watering bill when she feels so inclined.
That leaves just the hanging plants and front step pots to cover with a watering can, and it really cuts down on mosquito bites.
What's your watering strategy? Too bad watering helps the weeds grow, too.
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