Watering question


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We recently put in two raised beds. One is 4' x 8' and the other is 2' x 8'. The soil is all organic. We have six starter pea plants planted one one end of the bigger raised bed and on the other end I have a dozen or so Walla Walla onions that were planted as seed. I've read that it's not good to over-water as this can drown plants but what about when starting from seed? The onions have just in the last two days shot out a thin green strand that looks like a strand of grass. Are the watering requirements for seeds that haven't sprouted yet different than the requirements for starter plants?

We also have starter plants of strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, tomatoes, and zucchini. In another part of the yard I have beans (planted as seeds) and they are growing but not sure how much to water those either.

I live in southern California desert climate where it's routinely over 100 degrees. Lately, it's been cool at about 95 degrees :rolleyes: and so things wilt in the daytime heat (which I suspect is normal). I don't want to drown the starter plants and don't want to starve the seeds in the ground so I need to know how to water for both scenarios. I did read up what I could find here in the groups and got some great advice but didn't find anything specific about how much water to use for seeds in the ground.

Thanks!

Mike
 
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You live, shall we say, in a very challenging area. With temps. that high during the day it will be difficult to maintain a decent moisture level in the soil to start seeds or to grow seedlings. There is no X amount of gallons of water or length of watering time or any formulae to go by. There are degrees of moisture levels in the soil. There is saturated, wet, moist, damp and dry, nothing one can actually measure. In my experience it is best to keep seeds moist and the roots of plants damp but that is just my definition of damp and moist. I find that most folks have difficulty understanding what dry is. Dry is no moisture. If you stick your finger into the soil and feel no moisture and then pull your finger from the soil and still feel no moisture, even when you blow on your finger, then that soil is dry. Damp is where you are able to slightly feel moisture. Moist is easily felt. Wet is visible on your finger and saturated is visible in the soil. While sprouting seeds you should never let the seeds dry. Maintain at least a damp environment for them. Newly germinated seeds will die if allowed to dry. Seedlings are a bit more forgiving but until they establish even a modicum of a root system they too will die if allowed to dry. If you can figure out a way to keep your seeds and freshly germinated seedlings damp or moist then you will be successful but starting seeds in the ground is always more difficult than starting them in small containers.
 

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