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Watering your vegetable garden

Watering is part of the vegetable gardening experience. But by watering in a smart way - and using the MM-Mix - your Planty Garden uses a lot less water than a regular vegetable garden.
In de Makkelijke Moestuin geef je water met een bakje
Tip: A little deli container is perfect for watering
Your plants get vital nutrients from water. Here in the Netherlands, we have dry spells more and more often. So you can't avoid watering, even here.

Just 20% of the water

In a Planty Garden, you use up to 80% less water than in a regular vegetable garden. Because you only water where needed: right at the root of your plants.

And thanks to the MM-Mix, the water stays there. The vermiculite in the soil mix retains moisture really well.
Where's all that water going?
So that's different from the picture above. The water is sprayed on the leaves, can wash away, and the soil around the plants also gets a lot of water.. What a waste.

In a Planty Garden, it works like this:

Use a plastic container to water directly

A little deli container or plastic Tupperware is ideal for watering your plants. Especially if you have just a couple of garden boxes. I like to use empty yogurt cups myself.
Een emmer en een bakje om water mee te geven
A bucket and plastic container for watering
Put some buckets near your garden boxes to collect rainwater. (If you have a rain barrel, that's great too.)

The sun will warm up the water in the buckets. Your plants will appreciate that, especially the seedlings. They don't like really cold water. 

Dip your little plastic container in the bucket and use it to water at the base of the plants, not the leaves. 

The MM-mix retains that moisture right in that exact spot. You can see it clearly in the picture below: the soil mix around the seedlings is moist, the rest is dry. 
Makkelijke Moestuin-mix houdt water vast waar het nodig is
The MM-Mix keeps moisture right where you want it

Skunkeler did a side-by-side comparison:

"I found it hard to believe that you really use less water with MM-Mix. Well, the last few days I really noticed a difference between my MM-Mix and other soil! 
The plants without MM-Mix started to droop in the middle of the afternoon (herbs, strawberry plants), while the ones in the vegetable garden boxes, MM-Mini grow bags and pots (also herbs and strawberries) with MM-Mix were still standing just fine. You could even see that the soil was still somewhat moist, despite the full sun. 
No idea how you guys manage that, but I'm extremely happy with it!"

Lots of garden boxes? Use a hose

If you have a lot of garden boxes, then it'll take some time to water your plants using buckets and tiny Tupperware.

I get out the garden hose when the weather is dry. But even then, I water the soil mix directly. I never water the leaves.

For big plants, I just stick the hose into the soil mix and let the water run a while.

Every now and then, I move the hose a little further. While it does its thing, I do mine: I tie the tomatoes to the trellis, check for caterpillars, and all that other fun stuff. 
Watering straight into the soil with a hose

Beware of hot hose water

You're more likely to reach for the garden hose when the weather is warm and sunny. But be careful: Stagnant water in the hose gets hot from all that sun.

Before you know it, you'll be killing off your beloved plants. I know from experience 😉

So first, let the water flow. Check the temperature before taking aim.
De zon maakt het water in de tuinslang erg heet
The summer sun will heat up the water in your hose

Half-empty garden boxes

At the start of the season or heading into the fall, you're bound to have some empty patches in your garden boxes. You don't need to water those of course.

The MM-Mix will keep the water right where you pour it.

Dried out MM-Mix

If you don't water for a long time and it doesn't rain, the soil mix will eventually dry out.

I've come home from vacation to dried out boxes. Some of the plants didn't make it, but it wasn't a disaster.

I removed the really sad-looking ones, added some plant food to the soil mix, scooped it all together, and was ready for the next round.

Add water to the soil mix in stages

If you're preparing your garden box so you can sow again, it's best to add water to your soil mix in stages. You want to give the mix the chance to absorb the water but not get too wet.

Check as you go along. Sometimes it seems like the mix is completely damp, but the bottom layers are still dry. The soil mix can absorb more than you think.

When it's moist again, you can sow your seeds. Then water your plants normally, if they need it.

If you only want to plant or sow in one specific square patch, make a hole in the dry soil mix. Fill it a few times with a lot of water, until the mix is moist again.

Bottled water

No, I'm not so obsessed with my plants that I give them bottled water 😉
I just reuse the bottles.

The tomatoes in the greenhouse need water regularly but they getting their leaves wet.

So, I collected a few used 2-liter water bottles. The big ones are nice and sturdy. I cut off the bottoms and pushed them nose-down into the soil mix at the base of the plants. Without the bottle top of course.
Spa-fles bij de tomaten in de kas
Water bottle repurposed for watering greenhouse tomatoes
I fill the bottles with the garden hose and the soil mix slowly absorbs the water.

Works like a charm!

PS: Are you looking for the MM-Mix?

It's here in our online shop:

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