Water for the Winter Season

Holy ballz it’s been cold outside!

I can’t believe how cold it’s been at night for this time of year – I swear last year wasn’t so cold by mid-October. But really, I’m not sure. The last time I tracked temperatures was in my farming days, where temperature, moisture levels and soil structure was my life. Now, I tend to track it more in my head, which leads to the inevitable – Uh, I forget.

However what I do remember, is that this year gets kind of tricky when it comes to your garden and watering. Once it’s gets chilly outside, people (and myself) tend to think the plants in their garden doesn’t need as much water.

Cold equals water, right?

Wrong.

Your plants need even more consideration around water this time of year. Now, that doesn’t mean they need more water – but just more thought around how they are being watered. You see, plant cells shrink and expand depending on the weather and surrounding conditions, and when a cell is flaccid or collapses all together, it can easily kill that portion of the plant. Since it’s easy for plants to dry out from Winter cold, wind and bursts of sunshine – it’s very important to water based on the weather and how established the plants are.

I try to remind myself this time of year (from Oct – May) to water between the hours of 8am – 3pm. Usually, I water twice in the same day (about 30 min apart), being sure to completely soak the plants. This allows for the plant’s cell walls to fully absorb the water and stay strong for the upcoming night’s cold weather or wind.

For succulents, I also try to water the ground around them, as opposed to their leaves. Agave attenuata, for example, tend to get frost bite easily from water staying on their leaves and coming in contact with temperatures of 41 degrees or colder.

With that being said, be sure to write your new Winter watering schedule on a post-it or something and leave it someone you will remember to check weekly. Or you can program it in your phone with some alert reminders – as well as a timer if you are watering by hand. You can also remove any saucers under pottery and check the garden for soggy spots. Addressing drainage issues prior to a big rain will be much easier and usually less expensive!

 

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