For much of the year, gardeners in our Mediterranean climate gaze at the dusty, golden hills dreaming of the first shower that will bring verdance back to the parched earth. During the summer months, irrigation from our public water supply keeps our plants from drying out, but it’s difficult to mimic all the benefits of natural rainwater.
Watering isolated areas of your garden’s soil with drip irrigation and sprinklers is good, but often the root zone isn’t thoroughly saturated. After a while what the plants really crave is a good, penetrating soak. Whether we get 9 inches or 29 inches, nothing fully recharges the soil or revitalizes the plants like a good, solid rain.
Our garden, composed mostly of succulents, gets watered quarterly—that’s only four times a year. Compare that with your average fine fescue lawn, or Kentucky blue grass, that need a drink at least twice a week. The trick is establishing your plants’ roots properly, right off the bat. The way to do that is this:
- Make sure you have plenty of mulch on your garden for trapping moisture, wherever it comes from.
- Water for longer periods of time, not in short, frequent bursts
- Water less often.
This trains your plant to extend their roots far down into the soil, making them more efficient water-seekers. Plants whose roots are too near the surface are high-maintenance complainers!