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Watering tips- using sponges and wine bottles

9:08 AM, Jul 31, 2013   |    comments
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Triad --  Even with our recent heavy rains, your container plants still need water on days when we don't get rain.

There has long been the desire to find ways to make watering go farther. What if you go out of town? You don't really want to get a sitter for the plants. It has been suggested that sponges could be used to hold water longer.

The theory is that if you plant sponges with the dirt in container plants, they will soak up moisture and release it when the plant needs it.

The reality is that this doesn't work. It may even kill the plant. Jeff Gillman, author of the book "The Truth About Garden Remedies", did a test using two groups of plants. He planted sponges in one set and left them out of the other. He watered them regularly at first, then stopped watering for three weeks. At the end of the three weeks, the plants with sponges were basically dead. The others weren't doing well but were still alive.

Using sponges in your plants may seem like a good idea- but is probably one to skip.

Here is one that does work. Take an old, clean wine bottle and fill it with water. Some say to put a hole in the cork and put it back in the top. Others say to leave the cork off.  You can try it and see what seems to work best for your plant. Just quickly turn the bottle upside down and put it into your container plant. The water will be released as the plant needs it. This is good for plants that need a lot of water, like tomato plants.

Finally, make your own watering can out of a clean milk jug. Simply poke holes in the cap and pour. It takes up a lot less space than a big watering can.  

"The Truth About Garden Remedies", by Jeff Gillman

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