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Fertilizing and Watering

Subject:  Joze...more to talk about

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Date Posted

Nana Rea

Massillon, Ohio

In another thread, you mentioned, "Watering timing is a debatable topic with many considerations." I'd like to hear more discussion about this. Thanks!

12/29/2010 7:24:16 PM



something I have been wondering about too Nana... it is interesting to see how much water some people got this year from rain (like Kevin Marsh, for example). I never water at night, but after seeing pictures of his patch submerged (and then seeing his impressive results), I have been thinking about watering more and also trying watering at night as well. living out here I am at low risk to get Mr. Foamy, so it seems like a logical addition with hopefully low risk...

12/31/2010 12:32:23 AM

Joze (Joe Ailts)

Deer Park, WI

The foremost consideration in an watering program is consistency, assuming we are aspiring towards the common goal of maximal fruit size. Plants, in a strikingly similar manner to humans, are affected by stress. In the absence of ample water (a significant stressor to both plants and humans), the organism initiates responses that shift the organism towards basic survival and divert valuble resources away from non-life sustainin prccesses.

A practical example of the above principle is the way a plant will react in water-deficient scenarios. Stomata close, which shuts down transpiration. Water, rather than being evaporated, is locked inside the plant. This conservation effort also brings the process of photosynthesis to a halt (no CO2 is getting in). Essentially, the plant has "paused".

An influx of water will allow the plant to resume its normal pattern of growth, the organism returns to the balance in biology known as "homeostasis".

What does this have to do with timing?

1/2/2011 9:34:59 PM



for me, I have to water early in the day, because of the greenhouses, If I water later in the day the humidity causes problems and the biggest for me is powdery mildew, When I stay to early watering, I never get it. Also because my ground does not expell extra water fast, I have to be careful not to over water, If I had the water Kevin did, all my plants would have died.
I was always under the impression, early is better, because the plant feeds the fruit at night, so if you water early, the plant has time to absorb it and feed

1/2/2011 9:38:40 PM

Joze (Joe Ailts)

Deer Park, WI

The above rhetoric serves to demonstrate the importance of consistency, the remark I opened with. Stress has a profound effect on progress. Ever try to compose a long-winded script on plant phsyiology with 3 young children, a cell phone, a preoccupied wife, a cold virus, and a full bladder? Again, stressors halt progress.

Thus, watering strategy in your patch should serve an over-arching prinicple- how does this strategy serve to minimize stressors in my patch? Somewhat philosophical, but yet quite practical.

Ideally, watering strategy is dictated by quantitatively monitoring soil moisture. Below a certain threshold, water is added to refill the deficit. Farmers use devices like these to manage irrigation. Obviously a program guided by the above principle is not AM/PM dependent.

In the absence of such a device, where decisions are dictated by scratching the dirt and determining its time to turn on the faucet, what other considerations can be made to maximize growth and minimize stress?

If you are a grower who's most pressing stressor is the existance of foamers, then I would consider Midday watering, when transpiration rates are highest and xylem pressure is likely at its lowest.

If your most pressing stressor is the onset of powdery mildew, then again the application of water in the AM is advocated. Wet leaf surfaces in the pm late summer create environments ripe for PM development.

In the absence of major stressors such as those cited above, I tend to favor PM watering. Fruit do not grow much during the day. This is partially a function of transpiration...water is being whisked through the xylem and out the pores of the leaves. The pull of water into the leaves is strong...strong enough to minimize influx into developing fruit.

1/2/2011 10:12:06 PM

Joze (Joe Ailts)

Deer Park, WI

The plant utilizes the quietude of night to "refill". Since the transpiration machine is not demanding water flux, roots will absorb passively and prepare the plant for the next day's workload.

Fruit sinks will trump leaf sinks, thereby preferentially moving fluid and nutrients towards the developming pumpkin. PM watering assures ample H2O supplies to the fruit during the late night hours.

1/2/2011 10:16:14 PM

Nana Rea

Massillon, Ohio

Considering the info on transpiration, it seems it would be good to have a constant water supply available to the plant. So....is it better to divide the total daily amount of water (I use drip tape)into 2 or 3 or 4 apps?....or is it better to soak the soil once, and then let it dry out between once daily apps? I'm thinking it wouldn't be good to have air pockets constantly filled with water. OR....if the soil drains well, will it be able to handle multiple apps?...OR.....? Whew!

1/3/2011 9:07:19 AM


Joliet, IL

i like watering in the early morning hours with use of a timer. i have a misting system set up until the leaves become mature enough not to burn and then i remove the mister head and drop it down and connect the 1/4" spaghetti tube to a rotary low volume microsprinkler on a stake for under the canopy. if it is hot out, over 85, i will mist a total of 2 hrs broken up in intervals during the day to keep the plants cool and leaves producing consistantly. the misting heads are tornado misters with the bigger droplet size. this way i can i cool and water at the same time. once all the misting heads have been replaced and dropped down and replaced with microsprinklers, then in the morning from 4 am to 5 am or sometimes 4-6 am i water with the lower under canopy system set on a timer. if it is hot and over 85 and leaves are fully mature, i do not have the luxury of misting as the heads were already removed and the dropdown microsprinklers were added. to cool the leaves and keep them producing consistanly at this time, i use a 6' tall rain tower in the center of the patch and use this over head sprinkler set at 15 minutes on every hour from 9 am to 5 pm. basically with this system, i mist early on in the season for all the plants watering needs and also use a hose for soaking the soil around the plants when needed. then later on, 2/3s of my plants daily watering requirement comes in the day time when hot from overhead watering and cooling at the same time. the other 3rd is one to 2 hours with the microsprinklers for deeper soaking (depending on heat and humidity and levels on soil moisure). later in the season, weeds prevent the nice even coverage of the under the canopy water pattern and i will use a combo of the overhead raintower and undercanopy microsprinklers.

1/3/2011 5:20:30 PM


Joliet, IL

as i have increased my soil structure methods like adding porous permanent additives being both biochar and zeolite over the past 2 years and going very heavy on chopped leaf litter added every fall, the improved soil structure allows me not to worry about over or under watering so much. i water in volume much more than i did in the past, but never have pooling water and even the ponding water after a terrential 5 inch down pour last year dissipated nicely and drained well. my patch is crowned in the center for drainage and is at least 1' higher in the center than on the outer edges. and subsoiling deep has helped also. all the above is a method i have developed for consistancy. the porous spongelike effect of the biochar and zeolite also helps with the lateral transfer of water in the soil. the key for me is adequate volume and consistancy of water in a good structured soil and keeping the plant cool and producing while applying the water.

1/3/2011 5:20:42 PM


Joliet, IL

also, remember to only use warm water if possible all spring around small plants so not to cool the soil temps down when watering.

1/3/2011 5:25:46 PM

Peace, Wayne

Owensboro, Ky.

Incredible tutorial, shaZZy ... Thanks...my soil is diff than yer's, but this certainly helps!!! Peace, Wayne

1/4/2011 2:27:24 AM

Joze (Joe Ailts)

Deer Park, WI

Nana- your question is a good one, but difficult to answer. The ideal scenario will ultimately depend on your soil structure/water holding capacity, temperature, rate of transpiration, etc.

As I alluded to earlier, the most exacting way to identify water needs is to utilize some measure of soil water content.

1/4/2011 8:12:31 PM

Nana Rea

Massillon, Ohio

I just told a friend that I don't want to get so wrapped up in the magic potion stuff, that I forget about basic plant physiology. These couple of recent threads have been a good education. Thanks to Joze, Shazzy, Brian, Russ, Bathabitat and others who have contributed. Much appreciated!

1/4/2011 9:20:20 PM


Midway, UT

Great post. I've been thinking about all of this lately and this helps a lot.

1/5/2011 9:42:51 AM


New Zealand

note to shazzy

i think you really need to take watering more seriously!
i would like to see the inclusion off at least a dozen oscillating low pressure micro inverter sprinkler heads set on a moisture and humidity sensitive computer timer to your set up. you really can't afford to be to casual about watering!!!

1/5/2011 7:44:20 PM

Orangeneck (Team HAMMER)

Eastern Pennsylvania

lol, no one can say shazzy doesnt mean business!

1/6/2011 1:07:00 PM


Joliet, IL

are you buying me all this equipment whisky?...and if so....BRAVO!!!!!!!!!!!!

1/6/2011 6:42:09 PM


South Hero, VT

Shazzy, does whiskeybravo know what size pumpkins you grow with your "casual" watering?

If he does buy you the "serious" watering equipment, I'm betting you grow a 1700 pounder this year!

1/6/2011 8:48:39 PM

Peace, Wayne

Owensboro, Ky.

VT, w/ serious watering equipment...I want to be first in line for a Shazzy seed, next fall!!!! LOL
PS...wish I was first in line this year!!!
PPS...hopefully he sent a set to the KPM...sorry KGPG for our auction!!! Peace, Wayne

1/7/2011 12:46:54 AM


New Zealand

sure better than my one overhead sprinkler bro

1/7/2011 1:59:44 AM


Joliet, IL

hope that one overhead sprinkler grows you a monster whiskey...sometimes that's all it takes if it is a good sprinkler and produces good even coverage. wayne, shoot me an email if you need any more of my seeds for your club or any other club out there. i am happy to donate seeds to any club. email me at shazzyshaz@aol.com.

1/7/2011 8:26:36 AM


New Zealand

thanks shazzy

1/9/2011 4:07:16 AM

Smallmouth (Team Ozark)


Nice posts Shazz.

1/9/2011 11:28:56 AM

Total Posts: 23 Current Server Time: 10/3/2022 1:55:19 PM
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