Row by Row Episode 49: Are You Giving Your Garden Enough Water?

How Much Water Does Your Garden Need

Knowing how much to water your garden can be rather tricky because there are so many variables at play. In general, vegetable crops in the garden need about 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week. If an entire acre was to receive an inch of water, that would equal 27,154 gallons of water. If you convert that to a smaller scale, that would equate to 0.6 gallons per square foot per week. Our 8 mil drip tape has an output rate of 0.4 gallons per minute per 100 feet. In other words, it would take 1,000 minutes or 16 hours for a single emitter to output 4 gallons of water. A common mistake is watering more than the holding capacity of the soil. The more dense the soil, the better the holding capacity and the longer you can water at one time. For sandy soils, the holding capacity will be lower and you should only water a maximum of 1.5 hours at a time. For clay soils, the holding capacity can be double and you could thus run the water for up to 3 hours a time before wasting water.

Factors That Can Affect This

One major factor is whether you are using subsurface or surface drip. Subsurface drip tape is buried below the soil surface and is the most efficient and conservative way of watering the garden. Surface drip sits on the soil surface and will result in loss of water through evaporation. This will require longer watering times because the water is not being delivered directly to the plant roots. Another factor is the placement of your crops. If your plants are directly on top of drip emitters, you will need less water compared to plants that are located between drip tape emitters. Crops like tomatoes and peppers are typically planted directly on top of emitters whereas corn and beans are planted between emitters. Two additional factors, which we cannot control, are wind and temperature. These will also affect how much water is needed.

Show and Tell Segment

On the show and tell segment, Greg brought a kohlrabi bulb and explored some of his diverse language skills. After doing some research, Greg discovered that Kohlrabi in German means “cabbage turnip.” Not only do they eat Kohlrabi in Germany, but they eat them in Vietnam and Bangladesh too. In Vietnam, they call them “su hoa” and in Bangladesh, they’re called “ol kapi.” Kohlrabi has a mild turnip taste and most people prefer to eat them roasted, although they are great raw as well. Some people also like to make coleslaw with kohlrabi. Greg has added that to his to-do list this year. Travis just finished adding some stakes to his determinate tomatoes in the garden. The guys discuss different methods on why and how they like to add their twine around the tomato plants.

Viewer Questions Segment

On the question and answer segment, the guys answer questions about organic pesticides and lettuce germination tips for non-greenhouse owners. Greg explains that any pesticide with the suffix “cide” designates that it was designed to kill something. The safest and best insecticide for preserving beneficial insect populations is Neem Oil. Another great organic pesticide is B.t., which works pretty much only on worms. As always, the best time to apply these pesticides is late in the afternoon in your garden. Travis gives some tips to help with germination for non-greenhouse gardeners. If you have any kind of problems with germination, it is a good idea to use pelleted and primed lettuce seed. Pelleted seeds offer wonderful germination rates, they’re easier to seed in the seed trays and they’re quick to germinate.

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