You can always tell when your plant has drinking issues. Stunted growth, signs of fatigue, lacklustre approach to life and a failure to see the day through rose-tinted glasses. The natural tendency is to want to rip them out lest they corrupt your other plants and lead them astray through their wanton living.
But this time I had a plan. I wasn’t about to let this insidious activity spoil any more of my plants. I had to make a stand.
So, through the advice of a horticulturalist friend I decided to give some soil wetting agents a try. Admittedly, I’ve been a cynic when anyone has discussed these in a glowing light because they’re marketed in the same vein as Demtel products: a cure-all that instantly fixes your gardening problems.
The problem wasn’t that my plants were drinking too much, it was that they weren’t drinking enough. The soil in some parts of the garden had become repellent to water and my plants were suffering overtly.
Normally I would use, and espouse the use of, compost to organically rectify the soil’s problems but with my compost heap still about 2-3 weeks away and the days getting ever hotter, I wasn’t prepared to wait it out. These plants needed an immediate fix.
I wanted to test this product out before I applied it to a half dozen plants and make sure that it was going to work. So, I mounded up a well around the base of one of my worst affected plants and filled the mound completely with water. And I watched, and waited… and watched, and waited…but nothing. The water just pooled there and even when I tried to stir the water in with the soil they repelled each other like mixing water and oil.
Then I scooped the water back out of the mound and applied some of the soil wetting agent and filled the well up again. Within a minute, I kid you not, all the water had soaked into the soil – all of it. I filled the well up again, and even faster this time, it saturated the ground. I was completely amazed. This product DID work!
I repeated the process on the rest of my struggling plants and sure enough they all worked the same. This was a God-send. I could now relax knowing that my plants were going to receive the moisture they needed through this harsh summer.
And, I’m happy to tell you – they no longer have a drinking problem.