Saturday, January 13, 2007

Checking the "soil"

I might have been joking before when I said I didn't know how to water. Where when and how you water depends mainly on your soil. In fact, I often watch Gardening Australia on the ABC and remember a great experiment performed by Jerry Coleby-Williams , where he oven dried three soil types and then monitored how much water they drew from a bucket of water. Read their fact sheet for more information.

So I went and had a look at my soil. Well for starters it isn't soil at all; its just muddy/silty clay with a little organic matter of the top. I figure when I was building up the garden that there was precious little cultivation back in the Cretaceous, so I didn't dig over the garden or add compost to the mud. I do know the soils where often waterlogged back then and problably not like the organic & humic rich profiles we call soil today. But I assume there was plenty of rotting vegitation on the ground, so I just add dead leaves to the surface from time to time. Even with my watering last Tuesday and a few sprinkles of rain since, it is clear my subsoil is powdery dry. The organic matter is however slightly damp. Opps that means I'll be encouraging the plant root to stay near the surface where they are much more likely to dry out. Not what I want at all.

[WATERING MYTH #1:I think a lot of people will discover this the hard way, after "doing the right thing" and mulching their gardens to "drought proof" them, only to find many prize older plants still curl up and die, because their older and deeper roots are not getting any water. All the water is in the satur-aid and mulch at the surface, only the shallow roots will benefit]

Some deeper watering is required, But how?

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