- Identify when it’s appropriate to water
- Describe multiple ways to determine if it is time to water
Science plays a major role in growing edible plants but there is an art to it as well. Not all aspects of the gardening process are easily reduced to a scientific formula, at least not for the average gardener in the heat of the process. Sometimes it’s about feel and the various visual cues that inform the process.
That is often the case when trying to determine when to water and how much moisture is needed or appropriate. Of course, there are scientific instruments, like the moisture meter, that help farmers determine when to water. But most use their intuition, and a few tricks, to determine when the plants need a good soaking.
Over time, all good gardeners settle into a rhythm when they “feel” their way through the process. Their insights and observations guide them all the while drawing on past experiences. Of course, knowing how to gauge moisture using the finger test never hurts either.
Tools & Materials
- Watering cans or Squeeze bottles
- Raised planters
- Moisture Meter
Introduction (10 minutes)
Begin the lesson by describing the moisture needs of various plants. Describe what a proper level of moisture in rich soil looks and feels like. Then demonstrate how to properly water plants to achieve the deep soaking that produces the proper level of moisture for the plants.
Activity (20 minutes)
Gather the Students around the raised planters and have them perform the finger test in different locations to determine if it requires watering. If it does, have them water the plants and retest that location a few minutes later.
Discussion (10 minutes)
How can we use visual cues to determine if we might need to water? What else can we do (or are we already doing) to help maintain the proper moisture in the raised planters? What might happen if we don’t water enough? What if we water too much?
Assessment (5 minutes)
Use the following questions to assess the Students before and after the lesson. Tally the responses of the group in the Assessment Tracking Log for comparison:
- By a show of hands, how many of you can explain how to determine if plants need to be watered?
- Now that you know how to test the soil for moisture, how many of you think you could test the soil on your own?
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