We hadn’t had much rain for a couple of weeks, and the showers and thunderstorms that were forecast for yesterday failed to materialize, so this evening I watered the garden.
Garden beds two and three, which have landscape fabric covering all or part of them, were not as dry as beds one and four. In fact, I didn’t have to water bed three (containing tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant) at all.
I use a hose to provide city water to my vegetables and nothing else — no sprinkler, etc. All I want to do is to soak the soil, and spraying water in the air will lose some to evaporation. Splashing can spread disease between plants or from the soil. My method does require me to be present the whole time so I can move the hose periodically. I use this time to pull weeds and check the moisture level in the next garden bed.
To check moisture, I use an inexpensive moisture probe that I’ve mentioned before.
I believe this probe acts like a primary cell (non-rechargeable battery). It uses the electrical potential difference between two dissimilar metals to generate a current that deflects the meter (it’s self-powered). Moisture (and salts) in the soil act as the electrolyte to complete the circuit and allow current to flow; higher moisture levels allow more current to flow than lower moisture levels. You can see that the tip of the probe is a different color, and there is a white, plastic insulator between the two metals. Despite its simple design and low cost, this moisture probe seems to work well.