Container gardening is one of the coolest and easiest way to grow edibles and ornamentals. This is especially true if you live in a place with a very limited space or with a very poor soil. But watering plants in containers can sometimes be difficult. For a new gardener, it can be daunting to determining the right time and how much water is needed, as both soggy soil and dry soil can be harmful to your plant and at times deadly.
Container or potted plants are a lot different than those sown directly in ground soil. The soil space is very limited and at the same time stores very inadequate amount of moisture. The most difficult time in watering container plant is during the hot, dry days of summer, which therefore require daily watering, and this applies to most plant types. Daytime temperatures may go over 85 degrees F which calls you to water twice a day. It’s therefor best to do your watering early in the morning or late in the evening where the temperature is cooler and with less evaporation. This will keep your soil moist allowing the water to reach the roots of your plant with the excess water going out the drainage hole of the container.
When watering your container plants, the idea is to provide a slow and consistent trickle of water directly to the plant to enable the water to reach all parts of the soil, including the plant’s roots without drowning it. Remember your aim here is to provide the whole root system of the plant with sufficient moisture and prevent it from totally drying out.
One way of way of watering your container garden, even when you’re not around is to use drip hose but this requires a lot of preparation. A simpler and cheaper way is using ollas and if you have never heard of them, well, they are actually just terra cotta jugs which are usually round with tiny holes all over and a tapered neck. The idea here is to bury it in your plant container just deep enough to expose the neck, this is where you fill it up with water. The water in the ollas will be released slowly into the soil keeping it moist. Just remember to scale down your ollas so it fits in your container. Another cheap way is using plastic bottles with tiny holes all around and bury them in the same way as you would with ollas.
Take time to check your container plants daily… if the first inch of soil is dry when you dip your finger, it needs watering right away.
Go Organic. Have fun gardening.