Download Radio Iowa State University 03-26-07

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Radio Iowa State University
Warmer weather may require more water for garden
By Stella Shaffer
Some climatologists are calling for a hotter and drier year than average in this
part of the Midwest. Iowa State University Horticulturist Richard Jauron says
homeowners looking for ways to cope shouldn't try replanting everything with
desert plants or hot-climate grasses.
Actually in a vegetable garden, he says most crops require an inch or more of
water a week during the growing season. "There aren't too many crops that are
extremely drought-tolerant," Jauron says. He says regular watering will be even
more important than usual.
If it is a dry summer, you can take some measures that will help your plants do
well despite the weather. One example is mulching, taking shredded leaves or
grass clippings and spreading it between rows and between plants in your
garden. That'll conserve moisture in soil that otherwise dry out faster, and will
help your plants tolerate dry conditions. Jauron says, "You still may have to
water, but you won't have to water as much."
Jauron says, the main thing to remember is when you do water, it shouldn't be
done often -- instead, do it once a week or so but water thoroughly so the water
sinks down several inches into the soil. If you do that, he says your plants should
get along fine for the next week or so. The forecast through June for most of
Iowa shows a likelihood for above-normal temperatures. To look at more data,
surf to the NOAA website and put in your zip code to get local forecasts and
more from the National Weather service.