With a watering can or irrigate...

During dry periods you have to water your garden. This can be done per plant with a watering can or by irrigating all plants at the same time through the garden.
With a watering can it is best to water the soil around the plants in one go. In fact so much that the watering also reaches the deeper plant roots. On light soils, the water will be absorbed quickly by the soil; this does not apply to heavy clay. The ground quickly closes and puddles form: the soil is impermeable.

To see to what extent the water has sunk into the soil when irrigated with a sprinkler, it is best to put a spa in the ground in a few places in the garden to see where the soil is moist. Use a rain gauge to measure how much has been irrigated and note the ratio between the number of mm irrigated and the number of mm of soil that has become moist. Also useful to know in case of rainfall.

Also when irrigating, it is better to irrigate extensively in one go instead of a little every day. Irrigating a modest amount every day closes the soil (clay!) and produces a higher evaporation compared to a weekly large amount. In addition, the deeper roots are not reached and a more superficial rooting is promoted, so that plants dry out sooner. Loosen the soil after watering; that prevents silting. In addition, loosened soil dries out less quickly.

During drought it is best not to irrigate the entire garden, but to give a large amount of water per plant, once a week. Germinating weeds between the plants do not get a chance to grow. Newly planted shrubs and summer crops naturally need less, but more often, water to prevent them from drying out.

Watering in the evening gives the plants the opportunity to absorb water during the night. However, the moist environment also makes snails active. Watering in the morning prevents this, but shortens the time that the plants can store a surplus of water. In the morning, the plants dry better after watering, which in turn limits the chance of fungi.

recognize ferruginous water
Stream with ferruginous water, photo: D. Hardesty - CC Public Domain

Groundwater from the coastal region can have a high salinity. Most plants in the vegetable garden are not salt tolerant.
Groundwater should not be used if it is highly ferrous. Ferrous groundwater oxidizes with oxygen from the air to iron oxide (Fe 3 O 4 ) – rust. Rust is not water soluble and is not absorbed by plants. Rust causes brownish discoloration of crops, pavement, furniture and building walls. Because plants do not absorb rust, it is not a problem for plants. Rust precipitated on leafy crops does not make the vegetables any tastier.
Ferrous groundwater can therefore be used for irrigation (watering), but is unsuitable for misting or spraying. The presence of iron can be determined by smelling or tasting fresh groundwater.


Birds with human features

The starling is a bird that feels at home in the city in late autumn. Like humans, the starling is a group animal. He also has decidedly human traits: his demeanor is often described as cheerful and chatty. So a nice bird.
The starling is an omnivore, and because convenience serves the starling, it seeks the company of humans. Because where there are people, there is food and the starling likes it all. In the countryside with orchards still full of fallen fruit and fields with leftover wheat, the starling is abundant.
But it is also a good place for the starling in the city: the people there leave enough food in the open air for starlings to get their money’s worth. In addition to urban landscaping, city dwellers also produce a great deal of – edible – waste. Together with the gull, the starling scours the garbage dumps en masse in search of edible items and thus benefits from human activities. The starling is therefore very prosperous and it is probably the most numerous bird in the world: it is estimated that more than a hundred million starlings fly around the world.
The group feeling of the starling is complicated. In the breeding season in spring it is lacking and the birds have enough on their own. They migrate into the province and nest in the countryside. Densely wooded areas and very open terrain are avoided, they build their untidy nests in trees and on buildings. Towards autumn, the group feeling rears its head and they seek each other out. They gather at a comfortable distance from their permanent home in the city and leave for humans in large groups.

When the first winter cold sets in, usually in the first week of December, most of the starlings leave. Heading south. Not all of them go, some hibernate in the urban environment. Sometimes the urban starlings are still visited by relatives from the far North, because when thick layers of snow have made food inaccessible there, these starlings sink to the south. We see these temporary guests scurrying around with their Dutch relatives.

Group of starlings, photo: CC0 Public Domain

Huge swarms stand out against the clear autumn sky. Food is also eaten at such a collecting site. A hundred thousand starlings dive into the meadows and eat everything that can be digested by a starling stomach.
Satisfied, they then all head for the city. To an environment with tall trees where they find a place to sleep under a lot of chatter.
Starling visits do not go unnoticed; at night the food is digested and in the morning before they return to the countryside in groups, they defecate extensively.

The grass in winter

Driving rain, hail showers and strong wind ravage the lawn

At night and early morning a chilly frost descends on the grace down. Moles leave a wild trail of mounds in their fierce hunt for worms. The GThe variety takes a beating in the winter, drenched in rain and sluggish because the growth is gone.

Careful when walking
The lawn, which is so strong in the summer, is vulnerable in the winter months. It is especially important if it has frozen on the ground at night and the blades of grass are still beautifully white.race to run. The otherwise flexible blades break like glass splinters under the heavy sole of the foot and then die brown. It won’t be until springonly then will they recover.

prevent moss
it gosun acidifies over time, partly due to our slightly acidified rain. If the growth of the gWhen the variety comes to a standstill during the winter months, the moss, which thrives in a slightly acidic environment, takes the opportunity to spread.
Rake the moss away. Sprinkle at the beginning of March, when it is possiblevariety gently begins to grow again, lime on the grace. This increases the acidity and makes it gasun moss-unfriendly. Fertilizing the gvariety is best at the beginning of April, when growth is completely back in the grace. That is also the time to remove any bald spots in the room to sow in the sun.

Mos in het gazon, foto: PlantEnPlagen

Moss growth in the grace, is unfortunately not the only thing that makes a tight gasun in the way. Moles , mildew , mushrooms , leatherettes can do itcause a lot of damage from the sun. More about diseases and pests in the ga sun can be found here .


Tomatoes don't like rain

A shelter helps against the rain, because tomatoes, just like potatoes, are very sensitive to the pseudo fungus Phytophtorah .
As soon as brown spots appear on leaves and stems, the tomato hasdisease (Phytophthora) has emerged. This water fungus causes the characteristic black spots on the leaves of potatoes and tomatoes. They are fungal-like microorganisms.Late blight hibernates on remaining plant remains and in the soil. Contamination is caused by insects, spores carried by wind and rain and in splashing water. During periods of summer, hot and humid weather, Phytophthora can do great damage in a short period of time.
To prevent disease, tomatoes are aerated. In professional fruit cultivation, it is monitored how long the leaves remain wet (wet leaf period) and what the temperature is. The combination of both is partly responsible for the development of Phytophthora. Well-drained soil helps prevent Phytophthora: Moisture encourages germination of spores.

recognize late blight in patatoes
A potato leaflet showing late blight infection caused by Phytophthora infestans, photo: Howard F. Schwartz - CC BY 3.0

Phytophthora is not limited to potatoes and tomatoes only. Roses, for example, can suffer from root rot caused by phytophthora is caused. Silver firs, such as the Nordmann fir, can also be affected by phytophthora get root rot, causing the spruce to dry out and die.


Earth workers par excellence

Smooth, long and thin is the rainworm and it prefers to live in the first eight inches of soil under our lawn. Here comes the rainworm spared by the digging gardener and he is protected by the same gardener against his worst enemy, the mole. The most common type of rainworm in our garden is the Lumbricus terrestris . An adult specimen measures thirty centimeters and has more than one hundred and fifty rings. The color of a healthy worm is pink to reddish brown. The front is round and that’s where the mouth is; the back is flat. A third of the length from the head is a band that is important for the reproduction of the worm.

Rainworms can live up to ten years and you wouldn’t expect that. A lost head or tail piece can regrow. The rainworm absorbs oxygen directly through the skin; he has no lungs. A worm has no eyes either, but the worm’s body is sensitive to light. Light means danger to the worm: the hot sun dries it out and, moreover, when it is so horribly visible, it is an easy prey for many enemies.

Earthworms reproduce by laying eggs. It takes five months for a young worm to hatch from the egg and then the worm needs another year and a half to mature.

Every garden has rainworms; per hundred square meters of garden there are about three thousand rooting in it. They eat their way through the earth, which is mixed with the remains of half-decayed plants and animals. In this way, this army of worms creates numerous corridors that ensure a healthy water and air balance in the top root layer of the plants. The soil consumed by the worm, in which all the organic material has been digested by the intestinal action of the worm, is deposited on the surface in the form of mounds of earth. Other types of rainworms fill the higher corridors with the processed soil. This produces excellent soil, rich in plant nutrients and minerals from the deeper layers.

The worm army is able to completely replace the top two inches of garden soil with ‘worm’-processed soil within a few years. Stones that were on the surface have therefore sunk five centimeters below the surface.

Earthworm, foto: James Lindsey - CC BY-SA 3.0

The Gardener and the Rain worm
Frequent digging between the plants and ruthlessly keeping the garden surface ‘clean’ do not provide ideal living conditions from the rainworm up. Digging destroys the worm-friendly structure of the soil and makes it look for a less turbulent environment. Bare earth of the kind on which no fallen leaves lie and no weeds thrive, offers the rainworm no protection against the ever worm-hungry birds, hedgehogs, shrews and moles. The latter in particular is a major consumer: an adult mole can receive up to fifty rain per dayworms. Moles even build special storage rooms in which they store worms.
The presence of a compost bin is a big step towards a healthy worm population. The worms multiply quickly in such a hotbed full of organic waste, so that they can also do their good work elsewhere in the garden.

See also: Earthworm

Colorado potato beetle

Vegetable gardener watch your potatoes

Colorado potato beetles and the larvae eat the leaves of potato plants. And they do that quickly. Catch the beetles and destroy them. The beetle is + 10 mm in size and is very harmful. Check the potato plantings regularly for the eggs on the underside of the leaf, destroy them. If you see beetles in the potato plants, hold a bucket under the plants and shake the plants: the beetles are startled and drop into the bucket.

recognize Colorado potato beetle
Colorado potato beetle, photo: US – Agricultural Research Service

The Colorado potato beetle has natural enemies only in its native range; there are no predators in the newly colonized areas that can withstand the poison of the beetle and its larvae. Natural enemies include birds, spiders, phalangids and over thirty different insects. Examples of insects that attack the beetle or its larvae are  ground beetles, the coccinellid beetles, shield bugs, lacewings, damsel bugs and wasps.