Quail Creek garden trips

Bonnie Nowicki, Quail Creek resident

April showers bring May flowers. So far March has fulfilled that requirement. We certainly have had our share of wetness, but the heat can dry out potted plants quickly. Brenda Sawchuk, a Quail Creek resident and Master Gardener with the U of A Green Valley Cooperative Extension center, located on Whitehouse Canyon Road, has some tips to share. Her daily routine walk-about through her landscaped yard includes close inspection of plants for any signs of stress, such as leaf yellowing or insects. She also checks what plants need dead-heading or pruning. She lifts her hanging pots off their hooks. Feeling heavy versus light determines the amount of water the pots receive.

Brenda uses a soil tester, more commonly called a moisture tester, on her succulents. Water for her potted cacti is determined by the air temperature. If it’s 70 degrees outside, she waters once a month. If 80 degrees, every three weeks, 90 degrees, every two weeks and 100 degrees, every week. Smaller pots or smaller surfaces on the cactus may require more frequent watering. When in doubt, she uses the soil tester, which can be purchased at most hardware or nurseries. Brenda’s in-ground plants are on a drip system and she checks for leaks by looking for water puddling during her daily yard walk.

I myself use the ‘finger’ method of watering on most of my potted plants. I stick my finger down in the soil. If the soil feels dry, I water it; if it’s damp or wet, no water is needed. Brenda only uses this method on her indoor orchid. What’s important is to give your lovely potted plants and landscape plants the attention they need to grow beautifully. Let’s all get in the habit of regular plant and yard inspections. A daily garden walk is a good practice. Thanks, Brenda, for your valuable tips.