hey newbie: is not a green thumb you want .. its a ....

ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5April 12, 2012

brown index finger ....[keep your head out of the gutter]

i have always thought of the green thumb.. as a function of deadheading in summer.. to encourage the repeat blooming ....

but that is a secondary issue to a new gardener ...

the prime issue is water management ... learning how and when to WATER PROPERLY ... it isnt going to do you any good .. to learn all about deadheading.. if your plants are dead by summer ...

and the ONLY way.. to know how and when to water.. IS TO INSERT YOUR INDEX FINGER.. and test soil moisture ... this is so ingrained with most experienced peeps.. that they fail to mention it ...

you water when the soil is dry .. or hot [as it will be dry the next day if it is hot] ... and you water long enough to water thru the whole root zone ... not just a shot with the pistol grip ... [and get a breaker bar or water wand to water deeply]

it is an ART.. not a science.. and by that.. i mean you have to learn how to intuit it.. it is NOT a schedule thing.. unless .. your index finger is already brown enough .. for you to have learned .. how water is held.. and moves thru YOUR soil .... in YOUR garden ... NO ONE .. i mean NO ONE .. can tell you how it all works in your garden..

bingo bango .. insert finger ...

can any of you other wise sages add other things that are prime considerations .. of taking it to the next level ... that perhaps we do.. w/o thinking.. and fail to mention ... for a newbie ...

good luck

ken

Here is a link that might be useful: i dont know what pressure that guy in the first pic is using.. but he shouldnt be pointing water coming out of a hose at 100mph at his plants.. lol .. the way he has himself braced ...

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I call it a 'digital water tester'....heh, heh...get it?

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 2:32PM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

I am tired of hearing the term "green thumb", even if it is aimed at me in praise. There's nothing magical and zero to do with innate talent when it comes to successful gardening; if you want to do it, get enjoyment out of it and persist in your efforts you'll be good at it eventually.

Apart from the "when do I water" question, the major "issues" a new gardener needs to consider are 1) sun exposure (lots is good for most things), and 2) drainage. The cure for overly fast or overly slow drainage is similar - work in lots of well-rotted organic matter.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 5:03PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

"Digital water tester"...nyuck, nyuck, nyuck.

Good points, Ken. And after a while you may notice certain "indicator plants" that when they start to glope (or is it gloap?) slightly you know its time to water.

tj

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 6:29PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

nyuck, nyuck, nyuck --- fer sure .. lol

and mind you ...

the finger goes THRU THE MULCH.. and into the soil ...

ken

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 6:35PM
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webuser_17497

Thanks, now I just need to stop over watering. But when you're in arizona you think the sun's gonna eat up and kill everything you plant.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 7:37PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

for you to have learned .. how water is held.. and moves thru YOUR soil .... in YOUR garden ... NO ONE .. i mean NO ONE .. can tell you how it all works in your garden..

Good point, and it will take some time to figure out how certain areas on your own lot holds moisture (plant type, slope, soil, exposure effect this).

If I have to break down and water a certain section one week, then if there is still no rain I know its time to move on to the next section a week later.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 10:32PM
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linaria_gw

Hi there,
last spring a DIY-store had this ad all over the town

    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 4:09AM
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calistoga_al

Too many gardeners are trying to grow plants in soil so compacted, no digit could be pushed into it. Al

    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 9:34AM
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hostaholic2 z 4, MN

Well I'm being cautious in giving out advice as I was soundly chewed out for advice I gave on another forum. Peep posted pictures of her seed starting set up wondering if anyone could see why she might be having problems. The pictures showed peat pots with seeds of corn, melon, pumpkins, onion sets and many others all lying on top of the soil usually with at lest 5 to 6 seeds per approx. 2 inch peat pot. I suggested that many seeds with the exception of some very tiny ones did better when they were covered with soil. I said planting depth for various seeds could be looked up online or check the back of seed packets as well as spacing suggestions. i also had the temerity to suggest that some of those would do better if they were direct sown outside. I was soundly chastised for assuming she was using seeds from packets when she had in fact traded for her seeds or saved them from grocery store vegetables and that unlike me she was Not selling out and supporting Monsanto. I deferred to her wisdom.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 11:17PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

Too many gardeners are trying to grow plants in soil so compacted, no digit could be pushed into it.

===>> and that is indicative of.. wait for it .. their future failure at water management ... if your finger cant get in easily.. well.. how is the water going to flow in and thru it ... eh??

ken

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 9:34AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

hosta...your experience is unfortunate. I think we've all experienced a smack from posters who really didn't want to hear any advice. Don't let it stop you from being helpful!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 1:02PM
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brit5467(7b/8a Coastal VA)

Good advice, Ken, about the soil being too compacted. But I have a question...since I noticed it in my garden. It's established now...at least this most present one. About two years old....because before that, i had not tilled it' etc. So dug up all my established plants and started over. I tilled, prepped, and amended it so so that it was loose healthy soil.

But what do u do when it has gotten compacted again? I mean, I can't stick my finger in without using a tool make a hole down into the soil.

Maybe I'm over thinking things...since plants grow well (not as prolific as I think they could, tho).

But my concern is that I have run off much faster than I think should happen. I know when surface is too dry and you water too fast, that can happen. But thats not the case.

And it's very obvious since garden butts up to sidewalk. I joke and say "I'm watering the sidewalk again...lol."

So this year I bought a "weeping" (soaker) hose, ran it very slowly and STILL had run off quite quickly and top of soil wasn't even damp (and thought it should be, somewhat).

So I'm a bit lost as to what's going on with my soil...???? Seems like water runs out fast BELOW the surface. There is not any sort of slope to speak of. Maybe the "back" of it is an inch or two higher than front.

I have too many plants to try to get in there and break up the soil. So not sure how to solve this problem.

Thanks
Bonnie

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 11:33PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

hey bonnie ...

mulch would help.. do you have any ...

and with my sand .. water run off.. is a function of the sand getting too dry.. in between deep waterings ..

perhaps.. you need to water more often.. to avoid the hardening of the crust.. which a good compost or mulch will also help ...

you said: since plants grow well (not as prolific as I think they could, tho).

in my garden.. if they live.. my expectations are fulfilled.. seems like yours will never be .. if this is your premise ... perhaps you should be happy they live.. and not worry otherwise.. ya know.. the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence ...

how water moves thru your soil.. is something only you can figure out ... and i wish you luck

ken

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 8:49AM
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calistoga_al

When you are gardening against a sidewalk, or even surrounded by sidewalk, it is quite likely with amending and mulching in a year or two your soil level is above the sidewalk. When the native clay soil was compacted, with little vegetative matter incorporated, it may have been two or more inches below the sidewalk level. There comes a point when the excess soil will need to be managed. For me that means making a berm somewhere appropriate which also adds a new dimension to your garden. Al

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 9:31AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

time to bump this

ken

    Bookmark   February 11, 2015 at 7:30AM
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