Our little plants can’t do without it, but just when you should give them water and how much is not always clear. We will attempt to illuminate this problem with some basic information. Read more at our blog.
The 1st rule of water for our plants is: make it pH 5.8-6.
Regulation of pH:
By hanging a bag of green tea in a watering can full of tap water and leaving it to ‘brew’ for a couple of hours. We don’t know if the eventual taste of the weed is influenced by this, but it does work!
Furthermore, you need to remember that tap water contains chlorine that has to be allowed to ‘air’ or dissipate.
If you’re using tap water to give to your plants it is recommended that it is allowed to rest for at least 24 hours. You will notice that on the inside of the bucket small bubbles form – this is the chlorine. Tap the side of the bucket and the chlorine escapes from the water surface. Doing this pre-resting also allows the water to reach a more welcome temperature for your plants.
To emphasize: room temperature (c. 21 degrees) is the best temperature for your feed water.
Give your plants water at least 1 to 2 hours after the plant has started to receive light. Because evaporation will then be ongoing, the plant will be able to use the water, and this will also go some way to preventing bud rot.
When you sow you should always sow on MOIST potting spoil. This also applies to pre-germinated seeds.
Water the soil at least a couple of hours before you’re going to sow the seeds so that the temperature and water distribution through the soil are optimal.
Use, as long as the seeds are not yet popped out, some plastic (kitchen) foil with a couple of holes to prevent drying out, spray lightly each day with a plant mister (you do this a few times per pot at intervals of a couple of minutes so that the water can sink in), or give a very small amount of water to the seedling once its above ground, after which simply water it as it needs).
Warning: this will be a surprisingly small amount the first time, so watch carefully and develop a feel for it!
Treat the potting soil just as you do for seedlings, making sure it has plenty of moisture, so as to avoid water being sucked out of your seedling by the soil, keep the air moisture humid (a propagator is ideal for this) and make sure that a cutting does not have too much leafage on it as this risks the roots not forming or too much evaporation happening.
Plants in earth will have less need for extra water than plants grown indoors or in pots/tubs.
Once the plant has had enough time to root, only in high summer (or when the plant is exceptionally big) will it need extra water.
Keep a close eye on your plant; should the leaves droop and lightly curl this is a sign that she needs some more water, when you temporarily don’t have that water available the plant can not protect itself against the bright sun and her leaves will dry out, with the result that she will find it harder to send water to the leaves, with dire consequences.
Do NOT put your plants in a stone or clay pot; the pot absorbs water and sitting in the sun this will quickly evaporate and dry out the pot’s content that’s touching the wall of the pot.
Always make enough holes in the base of your pot/tub/bucket to ensure that excess water can always run off. Over-watering is almost as serious as drying out (just a lot easier to solve!).
You can recognize over-watering by the way (yellow) leaves fall off and the leaves look “thick” and droop.
Also, do not leave the pot flat on the ground as this increases the chance that water will not be able to run off. Some people even use plastic fencing to lift the pot off the ground; wood is not good for this as it is likely to rot.
In a pot or tub your plant will need water more frequently. Estimating when a plant needs water is done by regularly lifting the pot so that you come to learn its weight with and without water, and so develop a feel for when it needs watering
You can also stick your finger in the soil and feel if it is moist enough. The top couple of centimetres can be dry as long as the soil under that is moist enough.
A tensiometer is the best way of measuring water levels, but costs money.
Letting your plants remain dry for a while now and again actually has a good influence on the development of the roots and promotes the readiness for uptake of the roots, but the border between a little dry and too dry is a fine one, so take good care.
It is common for the top layer of soil when dehydrated to have difficulty in absorbing water. If this happens take a fork and work over the top 2-3 cm lightly, then cover it with a little water, wait at least 5 minutes, repeat and wait a short while again, after which you can continue watering as usual and will see that it is far better absorbed.
A week before the harvest stop watering; this will give the plant a last little push in her bud development!