Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day

The World’s Best Moisture Meter

You’re not sure whether it’s time to water your vegetables, your flowerbeds, your houseplants, etc.? I know the perfect moisture meter, one which gives totally accurate results every time… and you already have it on hand.

20150713AThis extraordinary tool is… your index finger (or if you do not have an index finger, any other functional finger).

Here’s the technique:

Insert your finger into the soil up to the second joint. If the soil is dry to the touch, water. If the soil is moist to the touch, don’t water.

Repeat as needed every 2 or 3 days (for garden plants and houseplants) or daily (flower boxes exposed to full sun).

20150713B
Moisture meters are widely available, but not as accurate as your finger.

Obviously, there are plenty of commercial moisture meters that are supposed to accurately read soil moisture levels, but they often give false results, especially in certain types of soil. Moreover, they tend become contaminated with mineral salts after only a few months of use and then stop working properly. Your finger, on the other hand, will continue to give accurate results for 40, 60, or even 80 years.

Sometimes gardening can be so simple!

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

3 comments on “The World’s Best Moisture Meter

  1. Think of a moisture meter as cheap insurance. Spend $70 and you’ll never have to wonder whether that lumber you bought is too wet or too dry. You can tell if the “kiln-dried” pine you bought from the home center was dried to 9- percent moisture content (about what you need for indoor projects) or 19-percent (what most constructiongrade pine is kiln dried to). Knowing the moisture content (MC) of your wood helps you determine when the wood is stable enough to use.

    • This information is not too appropriate to a blog about gardening, but very practical when it comes to construction projects. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Pingback: Turn That Old Grill Into a Planter – Laidback Gardener

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