Watering Containers

saoodhashimOctober 30, 2013

Some of you might know that I have had a very bad experience with over watering and one pepper plant almost died because of it but it has now overcome that terrible phase. This has made made me extra conscious with watering.

At the local garden shop I found a moisture meter - wasn't particularly expensive so I just bought it right away. I have been using it for quite some time now and I think it has been giving me a good guidance on when to water.

Generally the guidance is to stick the finger inside an inch of two of soil and feel the moisture level to determine if watering is required. However, this tool has an 8" probe stick allowing me to check the moisture status deep down. Now some of my plants (tomatoes particularly) have been planted deep in the soil and at times the first two inches is not moist but with this tool I can assess that there is quite a good level of moisture beneath the 3-4 inch level.

What would you suggest? Wait or proceed with watering? The plants seem happy with no sign of any wilt or stress under the heat of the afternoon sun.

Note: The product is also available from Amazon with okay overall reviews (some very bad, some quite good). There is also one good review which explains why the others may have given a bad review about it and I think found that review useful to judge the product's effectiveness. I have provided the link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mositure meter

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the_yard_guy(6A)

Saood, I'm new here and not expert on this but one post I read said to use thin wood skewers, the kind used for cooking, to test for soil moisture deep down in the container.

Hope that helps.

TYG

    Bookmark   October 30, 2013 at 9:02AM
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saoodhashim

Thanks TYG

Yes, I have used the wood skewers. My real question is how deep? What if the first 2-3 inch is dry but below is still moist?

The general recommendation seems to err on the dry side but at times generalization can be dangerous :) and that is why I put up this post.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2013 at 9:12AM
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the_yard_guy(6A)

Good question. I think its Ok if the top couple of inches of soil are dry to touch but my understanding is that soil should be damp down in root zone, not soaking wet. I have not tried the skewer method but it makes sense to try and detect soil moisture in this way. I plan to try this next year.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2013 at 9:57AM
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Oxboy555(Las Vegas)

Moisture meters aren't very reliable with porous, fast-draining container soils. They work better with peaty, dense soils (which of course, we are trying to avoid) or in-ground plantings.

If you are worried about shallow roots drying out, you can give your plants a little sip with distilled water (which won't add to the salt content accumulation). Personally, i would wait until it dries out a little more farther into the pot.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2013 at 12:29PM
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the_yard_guy(6A)

Good question. I think its Ok if the top couple of inches of soil are dry to touch but my understanding is that soil should be damp down in root zone, not soaking wet. I have not tried the skewer method but it makes sense to try and detect soil moisture in this way. I plan to try this next year.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2013 at 1:02PM
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saoodhashim

Ox, I too had the feeling that the more porous mix that I now have with 1:1 perlite:ready potting soil, is giving a lower moisture reading than it actually is since the mix now is not so compact to catch hold of the meter probe.

Thanks for the confirmation.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2013 at 4:53AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Poke your wooden skewers all the way to the bottom of the container.

Josh

    Bookmark   October 31, 2013 at 10:09PM
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