How much are you watering?

CPeters(z5 Chicago)June 24, 2005

Just curious as to how much everyone in the Chicago area is watering. I'm going out of town for 10 days and just got a watering timer that I've hooked up to a series of soaker hoses that end with a sprinkler in my main vegetable garden. The pressure is fairly low by the time it comes out of the sprinkler, but as luck would have it, its just the perfect pressure to cover the garden.

Right now I have it set to water for 10 minutes, then shut off for 10 minutes for an hour and a half just after sun up. I have a second watering around 7 that is 5 minutes on 10 minutes off for 45 minutes. Does this seem like to much or too little? The water pressure is low due to the extened system, so it's the equivalent of a faucet turned half way up.

I've never paid too much attention to how long I water manually, I just do it until the soil gets to the saturation I'd like it (I've also never gardened in a hot dry spell like this before either!)

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I was just coming over to this forum with the same question in mind...and I saw your post. LOL! Water is on all our minds. I can't believe how dry it is. I'm keeping all my newly planted perennials and shrubs well watered, and my containers, of course. But the grass is half brown, it would take way too much time and water to keep that green. I have too much. But the new plants are another story. I spend about an hour or so every day watering, mostly by hand. It's so humid that I'm afraid of overhead watering and the fungus/disease it will bring.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2005 at 8:38PM
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RuthannaM(Zone 5)

Hi, I am not sure about all this. ( I live just south of you folks ) You probably put out a flat cup and measure how much you get how much you get in it for both waterings. You should water one to two inches a week in dry weather. My husband the farmer is helping the answers here. A little extra in your case probably won't hurt? If I know my roots are surely hydrated then misting or rinsing their leaves off daily can be a plus unless its like a rock garden that likes good drainage and drier conditions. They like the typical one to two inches a week and nothing in between. Ruthann M.G.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2005 at 11:17AM
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grandblvd03(z5 IL)

Joliet has watering restrictions and I'm following them. I'm watering the large trees, plus new shrubs small trees and perennials I have planted. The grass is straw right now.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2005 at 11:52AM
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chrissy752001(z5 Chicago)

We are not watering the grass either. As is I am spending 1 to 2 hours watering a day this past week. We just planted 5 flats of flowers and many larger plants. Also am in the process of transplanting about 100 baby plants (about 20 in ground the rest in peat pots till stronger) that got put in the wrong bed. Those I am hand watering untill I am sure they are more stable with the roots. Have to use a watering pitcher on those thus why so much time per day. :(

I just keep an eye on the plants to determine if they need water. They kinda wilt specially with this mini heat wave we have going on. I water them early in the morning or at sun down.. the new transplants get a mid-day water cause they start wilting so bad.. but about 1 hour later they straighten back up. So they must need the water.

Clear weather is nice for the kids... but I so wish we could get a couple good soakings already! The wind coming off the lake is what keeps killing the slim chances we could get rain.

Honestly though I feel horrid for the farmers... they have to be concerned by now! My garden is for enjoyment, they have to think of dinner on the table. :(

And the next week looks dry as a bone too! We may get lucky on Thursday but not counting on it.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2005 at 5:56PM
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Just thought I'd moan a bit here. This weather is killing me-- not to mention the plants. Though I live in the city (Chicago) and don't have the water restrictions other do, I have had to be away from home quite a bit the past couple weeks.

I've had to make some sacrifices: the flower boxes can wither for now; the newly planted trees & roses get about an hour watering each day.

It looks like late August out there.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2005 at 9:10AM
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tadeusz5(z5 il)

Can't water in Orland Park at all, something happened in Oak Lawn pumping station- electrical which feeds Lake Michigan water into Orland Park, thus total ban ,

got my Indian Blanket, and making smoke signals for the much needed rain- letting the grass die, some shrubs are loosing leaves, turning yellow. Feels like a desert.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2005 at 11:08AM
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This is my first June here and it's totally miserable. Heat index today will be 104 or whatever. NASTY.

We might have to move this summer so there is no way that we can sacrifice anything out there.

So far in being here almost a year, all of those averages for temperature and rain on the Weather Channel have been oh so very wrong.

I think that we had three days of 'fall' and 'spring'. The rest has been either cold hell or hot hell. Considering that the former are my favorite times of the year (back in CA), I'm basically massively unhappy, weatherwise.

It's not as bad when it rains and cuts some of that heat, but where in the heck is the precipitation?

I'm tired of spending my life indoors. This bites.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2005 at 11:11AM
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RuthannaM(Zone 5)

Hi smom40,
Welcome! Being a transplanted ex Californian I can fully understand your upset. It takes a long while to get used to the Midwest excesses. We were so spoiled in California. I have lived in the Midwest and in the South for thirty years and it still shocks me occasionally. I would actually miss it if I went back though. I have learned to count a lot of later Winter as Spring and get a lot of early work done then as when you get used to it is one of the nicest times as you can be outside and see Spring beginning to happen right in front of your eyes. I also like living this far North because we don't have the ticks and chiggers and the snakes that we do have are garter snakes and a few bull snakes etc. I haven't seen any that are very scary up here..
Another thing I would like to add is that when its dry like this we have very few mosquitoes and that is a major plus! Every year is different in this part of the world. Welcome and God bless you ..!

    Bookmark   June 26, 2005 at 6:22PM
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My town just issued watering restrictions. I can water on even days at any time, except between Noon and 6pm. It's doable. One thing about the dryness and mosquitos, though, is that the type of mosquito that carries West Nile Virus likes it dry and hot. So that is a worse problem than the regular pesky ones. At least that is what I heard. With this heat and no rain, I hope I'm wrong.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2005 at 2:02AM
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I'm a little north of Illinois, but we've been getting the hot dry weather too. It seems like all the good rain is going to the north of us or just to the south. I mulch most of my gardens. I water once a week unless we have a good rain. I water them deep by hand. I usually do this in the evening after dark. I use a hose with a water wand so I just water the ground, not the leaves. I think the ground is able to stay damp longer so the roots can take it in better. Even with newly planted plants, I only water once a week. I use mostly cocoa bean mulch and that, for me, holds the moisture in the longest. A few gardens that have daylilies, irises and other long leaf perennials I don't mulch. Their leaves cover the ground to keep it moist.
CPeters, I would stick my finger in the ground by your plants and see how far down it feels wet after you do a 'test' watering. Adjust your timing from there. Hopefully there'll be some rain while your gone so you don't have to wonder what you'll come home to! Have a good trip!


    Bookmark   June 27, 2005 at 2:56AM
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mrmorton(z5 IL)

I water all my annuals nightly. The window boxes, especially, dry out so fast in this heat.
Lately, I have been forced to water numerous shrubs and perennials that are showing signs of stress.
All told, I have spent a ridiculous amount of time watering this year.
I use a watering wand mostly.
*shakes his fist at the sky*

    Bookmark   June 27, 2005 at 10:04AM
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pitimpinai(z6 Chicago)

I water my outdoor potted plants every evening. I have several perennials in half whiskey barrels. Last year, I didn't water them enough, some had powdery mildew & rust. The rest of the garden gets watered as my husband moves around the sprinklers, but he hates to water close to the house walls, so those spots are parched & cracked. :-(

    Bookmark   June 27, 2005 at 2:07PM
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VettyCL5(zn5 NW Chicago)

OUr town also issued water restrictions recently, odds & evens strategy- with a three hour window in the am & pm to water...liveable in light of the fact that other nearby towns are issuing total outdoor watering ban! Anyone know of a rain-dance we can all start doing??

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 11:27AM
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cherylk(Z5-Cent IL)

Sounds like we're all in about the same "boat" (we wish!)...

Thankfully they haven't issued any restrictions in my town yet. Like others here, I water my potted plants and baskets every evening. For all garden areas we try to water an hour (= approx. 1 inch of rain) in each spot, twice a week. It usually takes me about 7-8 hours to get everything totally watered on these days. Unfortunately, our lawn still crunches under our feet.


    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 4:42PM
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playsindirt(z5 MO)

Here in MO I'm watering the grass daily (thank God we have a system) and I'm hand watering my perennial beds every other day. I'm considering laying out soaker hoses but that would be a hassle now that everything is 3 feet tall! Live and learn. Coulda, woulda, shoulda. No matter what I do though, there is no substitute for good 'old rain.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 9:08PM
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CPeters(z5 Chicago)

After 11 days I got back to find my garden in great shape! I tested how much water my garden was getting per day right before I left and found it was getting 1/4 to 3/8 a day (thanks Ruthann!) and left it with that setting. It was moist but not oversaturated when I got back - just perfect.

I am now a convert to automatic watering systems that you can set to water for 10 minutes on 15 minutes off. The soil was much more evenly watered than when I used a watering wand - the soil was consistently moist all the way to 2 feet down. And it also allows me to sleep in a bit longer in the morning!

Using a watering wand in the evil conditions we've had left the soil damp at the top, but dry further down. When I got back I tested an area where I had ripped out some bolted endive and it was just as saturated at 2 feet as at the surface (moist, but not clumpy when squeezed - and no water came out when squeezed).

On a side note, I bought the timer because I didn't want to burden my sister in law with having to water like crazy, and she doesn't garden at all so I didn't want to subject her to a gardening boot camp. I called last week to thank her for looking after our house and asked how the corn was looking (my real reason for calling). She asked "which one is the corn?" (it was 6 feet tall when I left and is now at 8 feet). She's a brilliant woman in many many ways - but that was the moment I realized that buying the timer was the right decision.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2005 at 2:26AM
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