20160712A.jpgIt may seem absurd to water your garden just before it’s supposed to rain, but in fact it’s an excellent gardening technique.

The thing is, when soil is very dry, it at first repels water, then only starts to readily absorb it once it has become a bit moist. So when a heavy downpour falls on dry soil, much of the water is lost to runoff rather than soaking into the earth and irrigating your plants. And often you really needed that water!

Therefore if your soil is very dry and weather reports announce that rain is on the way, the best thing to do is to get out there and water a few hours earlier. This watering doesn’t have to be abundant: you just want to deposit a bit of moisture on the soil surface, enough so that the soil becomes water absorbant rather than repellent. Then when it really does start to rain, you’ll discover that almost all the water will descend into the soil… where your plants can take full advantage of it!

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.

2 comments on “Water Before It Rains

  1. I do this too and other variations on the theme. Never met anyone else who does it so wondered if I was slightly bonkers. Just wish we were getting more rain here in southern Ontario. Dry dry dry.

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