Is it time to water?

We have been busy this spring! Now that summer has arrived with temps. in the 100F degree range it's starting to slow moisture-meterphp.jpegdown. Typical in this business. We will hold a drip irrigation workshop this Saturday at 10 to 11am. Drip irrigation is really big here in northern California where no rain falls all summer. We sell all the parts necessary to install and operate a drip system.During summer our sales are mostly in the fertilizer, pest control and drip irrigation departments. Most folks have planted their gardens and are now in the maintenance mode. Here in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada our soils are lacking in key nutrients for plant health. The addition of fertilizer to the garden is almost a must. At planting time a starter fertilizer high in phosphorus is applied. Our soils lack phosphorus as well as calcium and other minor nutrients. In addition our soil is typically acid, anywhere between 4 to 5.5 in the pH range. At those readings many nutrients are locked up and unavailable for plants to use. Most vegetables need a pH of about 6.5, while some need a lower pH. Having an understanding of pH and how to adjust it are important. To that end we have been  selling pH meters like there is no tomorrow. These $9.99 meters are accurate and quick enough for most people.  The most important aspect is it get's people thinking about their soil and how it affects plant growth.

The meters we sell also have a moisture reading component. After 30 years in the nursery biz you would think I would know when the soil is dry and my tomatoes need watering, not. You can imagine how dry our soil looks with high temps and no rain in summer. It's common for people to over water here since it's so hot outside the plants must need water. So the moisture meter is perfect as once you push the probes into the ground you find out that under that dry soil the soil has moisture in it. I have been able to increase the length of time between watering my vegetables making for healthier plants and a lower water bill. Sometimes having a tool that confirms or denies what you think you know is a very valuable asset. For the customer is confirms what we tell them concerning raising or lowering the pH and it's relationship to fertilizer they will need.