Garden Planner: By Mary James
WITH SUMMER ON THE HORIZON, use this irrigation checklist to be sure every drop of precious — and expensive — water is used wisely.
• Run the system — drip or sprayer — and check for leaks and sprayer or emitter malfunctions, as well as over- or under-watering.
• Increase watering times in tandem with rising temps and day lengths.
• If necessary, replace old equipment with new smart timers; check with your water provider for possible rebates on this and other equipment.
• Bookmark a website like "Be Water Wise" and check plant evapotranspiration rates daily to fine tune watering schedules.
AND DON'T FORGET TO...
• Plant annual herbs including basil, cilantro, parsley and dill, either from seeds or nursery seedlings.
• Add heat-loving veggies to the garden, including tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons and cucumbers.
• Mulch vegetable gardens with straw (not hay) to help hold in the moisture these fast-growers need.
• As the weather warms, set lawn mower blades to 2 to 3 inches high for tall fescue and other warm-season grasses.
• Water in the cool of morning or evening, rather than the heat of the day.
• Knock aphids off roses with a strong spray of water.
• Deadhead and feed roses to encourage a second bloom.
• Set out ant traps to reduce colonies and prevent home invasions.
• Plant seeds and seedlings for summer-blooming annuals, including sunflowers, so they can become established before the weather gets too hot.