On the Act (Art of Watering)
Greetings and Salutations!
I am new to the forum (first post!) and also relatively new to container gardening (and plants in general). IÃ¢ÂÂve actually spent the last few months on the forum reading different articles prior to joining up and have to say I have learned a ton from AlÃ¢ÂÂs posts on Water Movement and Container Soils along with the followups from other forum regulars. So before I ask my questions, I want to thank Al and company for their patience, generosity, and commitment to sharing their knowledge, especially with beginners like me!
I feel like IÃ¢ÂÂve started to get a handle on the science of container soils and watering from my reading, but I want to check my understanding of one concept briefly first. When watering, I understand that you should water thoroughly (until water comes out of the drainage hole) when the plant needs it rather than watering the first few inches more regularly. The former flushes salts from the soil and ensures that it is fully and evenly wetted, whereas the latter tends to lead to overwatering and stunts root growth because there is no deep water to attract them. Am I on the right track here?
HereÃ¢ÂÂs my first question: With all of the water coming through the drainage holes, you would obviously overflow the drip trays so what is the best technique to thoroughly water your plants? (IÃ¢ÂÂve been taking mine over to the kitchen sink and letting the excess go down the drain, but was curious about other possibilities especially since IÃ¢ÂÂve read that plants donÃ¢ÂÂt really like being moved.)
On a different but somewhat related note, I want to start using the 1:1:1 soil mix and have tracked down local ingredients. So, my second question: Do you need to pre-moisturize the mix before transplanting into it to Ã¢ÂÂactivateÃ¢ÂÂ the soil? (Off topic: What is the best way to go about sifting--I remember Al commenting on using the wind instead of rinsing with water, I think, but am not sure how that would work? IÃ¢ÂÂve made a screen following tcleighÃ¢ÂÂs how-to which is fantastically helpful!)
On a related note to the related note, my third question: Do you need to pre-soak clay planters before using? (My wife likes to cook in a clay pot and I know you have to soak it for 10 minutes before putting it in the oven to absorb some moistureÃ¢ÂÂ¦didnÃ¢ÂÂt know if that applied to plants as well--not the putting in the oven part!)
Like I said, I feel like IÃ¢ÂÂm starting to get a handle on the Ã¢ÂÂscienceÃ¢ÂÂ behind watering, but could do with a few tips on the Ã¢ÂÂartÃ¢ÂÂ and techniques of how to water. Many thanks to all for your thoughts and feedback!