What To Do When Soil Dries Out Too Fast In The Garden

Garden 7

Do you have a problem with your soil drying out too fast? We know the frustration with dry, sandy soil and watering in the morning only to see plants wilting by the afternoon. This is a really bad problem in areas where city water is costly or limited. Soil amendments can help if your soil dries out too fast. Continue reading to learn how to retain moisture in the soil.

Retaining Soil Moisture

If you keep garden beds weeded can help you in retaining moisture in the soil. Excessive weeds can rob soil and desirable plants of the water and nutrients they require. Some weeds can thrive and flourish in dry and sandy soil, yet other plants struggle. Mulch can help you retain soil moisture as well. Mulch help preventing water evaporation. When mulching for moisture retention, use a thick layer of mulch (two-four inches deep). It is a good idea to mound mulch in a doughnut-like way a few inches away from the plant crown or tree base. This little raised ring around the plants encourages water to flow down to the plant roots.

What to Do When Soil Dries Out too Fast

The best way to retain moisture in the soil is by amending the top 6-12 inches of the soil. In order to do this, mix in organic materials that are high in water holding capacity. For example, sphagnum peat moss can hold 20 times its weight in water. Humus rich compost has high moisture retention as well. Other organic materials you can use in your garden are:

  • Worm castings
  • Leaf mold
  • Straw
  • Shredded bark
  • Mushroom compost
  • Grass clippings
  • Perlite

Many of these amendments have added nutrients that your plants will benefit from too. Some other ideas for retaining soil moisture include:

  • Creating moat-like basins around the planting beds or cross-cross irrigation ditches.
  • Burying unglazed terra cotta pots  with the lip sticking just out of the soil surface.
  • Poking holes in plastic water bottles and burying them in the soil near plants with the bottle top sticking out of the soil surface. Fill the bottles with water and place the lid on the bottle to slow the seepage of the water from the holes.

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