One of the most important gardening tools of choice comes with the lowest of price tags. In fact, not only can every gardener afford one of these but quite by design, every gardener automatically comes equipped with the single most effective watering tool known to man. I am not talking about curly hoses or fancy watering cans or even denatured, ionized and pre-shrunk water. Nope. I’m referring to the gardener’s index finger. And unless you are missing all ten digits, (they substitute nicely for each other) you have one of these extremely sensitive moisture meters.
The most common cause of houseplant and garden seedling death at this time of year is improper watering but with the use of the common finger, plants can be made 100% safe on their shelves.
To begin with, touch the surface of the potting soil with your finger. If there is any moisture at all left on your finger, if it feels damp at all, then the pot does not require watering. However, if that finger comes away feeling dry then the pot requires water. And water we will by completely soaking the pot so that water runs out the bottom of the pot into the saucer. This soaking ensures all parts of the root ball are wet and makes each root happy, it also flushes out excess salts from the soil. Allow the water to sit in the saucer for an hour to soak up into the pot and then dump excess water.
Do not water again until the soil is once again dry to the touch. Check every few days by touching the soil but do not be tempted to water until your finger comes away dry. Keep the finger in shape and your plants will follow suit.
Doug Green, award winning garden writer, gardens and writes a free gardening newsletter at http://www.beginner-gardening.com .