30 April 2015
30 April 2015

The Magic Number

When it gets to be August and September, many southern Californians think of the “magic number” as how many games the Dodgers need to win to earn a spot in the playoffs. But to our now drought addled minds it might mean something else: How many precious gallons of water do your plants need?

Do you know exactly how much water your garden needs? Don’t worry, very few people do. The answer, of course, is: it depends. It depends on what kind of plants you have and what kind of soil you have. But assuming you know those things, do you know the water need of your garden?

Plant need. It’s not our usual approach. The old methodology (plant looks bad=add water) relies on nothing more than our climatic knee-jerk reaction. Nothing scientific there. California’s gardening hobby has actually led to an embarrassingly large waste of water. If only more of us were taking advantage of some available resources…

If you have an irrigation controller Metropolitan Water District’s www.bewaterwise.com has a “calculator” which provides a ballpark irrigation schedule. Start with that. You can dig deeper. Find out your soil type, your area ETo, your plant’s ET rates, your irrigation nozzles’ “precip” rate. Sound like too much? No wonder you rely on those factory settings*.


*Factory settings are WAAAYYY too much water: 10 minutes per station per day…maybe they should change the factory settings?!

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