In the Garden

Days when temperatures climb into triple digits followed by evenings with fast-moving thunder storms can leave beginning gardeners unsure about whether or not to add supplemental water to their vegetable gardens.

The general rule of thumb is that plants need about one inch of water a week either from rain or irrigation or a combination of the two.

The amount of water can vary depending on the type of soil in the garden, but the objective is to wet the soil to a depth of 5 or 6 inches and not water again until the top few inches begin to dry out.

“Your garden needs to be watered deeply,”says Henrico Extension Agent Lisa Sanderson. “And that requires some time.

“Some people think sprinkling water with a hose for a few minutes and wetting the surface of the soil will be enough,”she adds,“but deep watering is not something you can do for 10 minutes and be done.”

Taking the time to water plants deeply can make them more resistant to droughts because the plants develop deep roots.

“Watering a little bit every day encourages shallow roots,” says Sanderson, “So plants dry out quicker. And watering every day helps surface seeds, which are usually weeds, to germinate and grow.”

Sanderson cautions that every garden is different, so gardeners need to check their soil to see when to water. Sandy soils may need to be watered more often, while a clay soil can hold moisture longer. Organic matter that you can add by incorporating it at tilling or by top dressing plants with compost can help soil hold moisture.

“You can use a rain gauge to see how much rain water your garden is getting,” says Sanderson. “Or use a soil meter to see how dry the soil is.”

“Fingers are also wonderful things to check soil moisture,”she adds. “Or use a trowel to pull back some soil and check for moisture.”

The best time to water is in the morning when cooler temperatures mean less water will be lost to evaporation. Watering early also allows foliage that gets wet to dry before nightfall.

“It’s better to water at the roots,”says Sanderson. “More water gets to the plant, and you have fewer issues with disease caused by moisture on the leaves.”

If time is an issue, busy gardeners can use soaker hoses that allow water to slowly seep out all along their length. Placed at the base of plants and left on for sufficient time, soaker hoses can provide the deep watering that plants need.

“It’s also a great idea to mulch your plants,”says Sanderson. Mulch conserves moisture in the soil by slowing evaporation and can prevent backsplash on leaves during watering. Plus mulching helps to control weeds that compete for the soil’s moisture.

Sanderson adds that these watering principles also apply to landscape plants.

“Usually, established plants are fine,” she says,“but when you have these hot, hot days, it’s a good idea to keep your eye on your plants to see if you need to water.”
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Henrico Public Library wins Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation grant


The Henrico County Public Library system recently won the Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation's Library Grant Award, which provides funding, materials and programming from VBCF to help educate citizens about breast cancer.

The grant is given to select libraries in Virginia that apply and is intended to further the VBCF mission to educate the public about breast health and breast cancer. > Read more.

Pet Valu to open in Glen Allen Aug. 26


Pet supplies and accessories retailer Pet Valu will open at 5304 Wyndham Forest Drive in Glen Allen Saturday, Aug. 26.

The store will offer free samples, goody bags, refreshments, raffles and prizes and kid- and pet-friendly entertainment during its first day of business from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. > Read more.

State issues warning about purebred puppy scam


Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring is warning Virginia consumers about an active fraud involving purebred puppies.

Herring's Consumer Protection Section recently has received a number of reports of consumers entering into agreements to buy a pet with a company they found online, later to learn the website and the company are a scam – and that no such puppy ever existed. > Read more.

Kaine, McEachin to host Service Academy Day


Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) and Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) will co-host their Service Academy Day to educate high school students about the service academy nominations process, an honor awarded by members of Congress for students interested in attending a service academy after high school.

The event will take place Saturday, Sept. 16, from 10 a.m. to noon, at Matoaca High School, 17700 Longhouse Lane, Chesterfield 23838. It will provide an opportunity for high school students and parents to learn about the nation’s military academies, a career in military service and the nominations process. > Read more.

Red Cross, Sport Clips offer free haircuts to blood donors


The American Red Cross and Sport Clips are partnering to provide free haircuts to anyone who donates blood or platelets to the Red Cross during September.

Blood donors of all blood types, especially type O negative and O positive, are urgently needed to replenish the blood supply following a critical summer blood shortage. > Read more.

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August 2017
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Rapper Bryson Tiller and his “Set It Off” tour will perform at 8 p.m. at The Classic Amphitheater at Richmond Raceway. With special guests Metro Boomin’ and H.E.R. Tickets are $35 to $65. Doors open at 7 p.m. For details and tickets, visit http://tinyurl.com/BrysonTillerTour. Full text

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