How should I water my garden?

Hello, I live in Boise, Idaho where our summers tend to get hot and dry. There are a few summer thunder storms but nothing we can count on. I've always watered by just turning on the hose and slowing filling my trenches. It could be daily for the cukes and 2-3 a week for the tomatoes. That was for a 10×20 garden that I puttered in and it worked fine – always had enough tomatoes, beans, peppers and cucumbers to share with family and neighbors.  This year I've gotten serious and increased that plot to 12 x 30, and added another plot that's about 15×40 and added corn, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, watermelon, pumpkins, basil, onions, carrots and artichokes. Plus I have separate strawberry, raspberry and blueberry patches.  So, I've been researching watering options. I can't install a sprinkler system.  Too expensive, plus I don't understand how you would keep your leaves dry.  In my research I've come across many articles that mention, one inch of water per week.  I just discovered Garden Harvest Supply and yours is the first site/blog that has given me the opportunity to learn/share/ask questions. I'm sorry this is so long. I do have 2 questions:

  1. What is/how do I measure one inch of water per week. I'm familiar with the tuna can method when using a sprinkler  and watering your lawn, but don't think that's appropriate because of wetting the vegetable leaves and getting water into places in the garden that don't need watering and causing weeds, etc.
  2. I planted my melons near my sweet potatoes, then learned they are not good companions. What do I do? They are separated by marigolds and watering trenches, but is that enough?  Should I maybe add some other flowers (nasturtiums) or herbs (sage, thyme, oregano)?

Thank you for any insight that you can provide.  Best regards and may all your blossoms bloom. Kathy

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Karen
    June 30, 2009 at 10:32 am

    Kathy,

    With a garden that size I would seriously consider looking into a drip irrigation system. That way you get the water exactly where you need it. These can be installed relatively inexpensively and easily. The rate of water can be controlled with a flow meter: essentially you tell it how many gallons per hour then set the amount of time. There are also timers with different zones so you can water specific areas more frequently. There are several resources for drip systems and flow meters. The flow meters can be installed with a regular hose but with a garden this large I would recommend the drip irrigation systems.

    As for companion plants, if the plants are already of mature size then I would just leave them. The recommended companions for melons are corn, nasturtiums, radishes and peanuts. For potatoes, marigolds deter beetles. I would just at this point wait and see since the mature plants should not be moved.

    Hope this helps. Karen

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