Frustrated by blights and diseases in your garden?
The problem could be in how you water.
Oddly, given the amount of rain that falls from the sky in this region, watering from above is often the worst watering practice.
Fortunately, Saturday you can take a free class in how to water optimally.
It’s a part of the WSU Extension’s Growing Groceries series of classes, and in Monroe, they are offered at the Julia V. Morris Memorial Garden outside the Sky Valley Food Bank.
The coordinators try to match classes to what is going on in the garden at the time. This time of year, irrigation is important as plants mature toward harvest.
“A lot of garden diseases are caused by improper watering of vegetables, like overhead watering,” said JVM Garden Manager Marilee Schneider.
Schneider is a credible source; she is not only a Master Gardener, under her care the JVM Garden has grown very lush, beautiful and productive, yielding hundreds of pounds of produce for the food bank each year.
Friday, the garden was burgeoning with berries, cabbages, broccoli, lettuce, feathery carrot fronds, onions, tomatoes, chard and more. And everywhere flowers and shrubs bloomed, adding color and fragrance to the plot.
It takes a lot of skill to manage a garden that size, and part of it is knowing how to water correctly.
Problems that can arise from watering from overhead include root rot and leaf rot, mold and viruses.
Trough watering is a better option, said Schneider. And it’s a lot cheaper and more efficient than drip tape watering.
“Tape is expensive,” she said, weeding a row of luxuriant lettuces bound for the food bank. “And it generally lasts a year unless you are careful how you store it. It gets stuck together if it’s too warm.”
And once drip tape is placed in the garden, it’s hard to move it to accommodate crop rotation.
Trough watering is a bit more time consuming, but it’s inexpensive and gentle on plants.
“Being water-wise, if you really want to grow vegetables to sustain yourself, is part of it,” said Schneider. “How do I water to get maximum production out of my garden? Pure and simple.”
The class will take place at the Julia V. Morris Memorial Garden at the corner of Village Way and SkyRiver Parkway next to the Boys & Girls Club, Saturday, July 12 at 11 a.m. There is no cost to attend.