Growing AK: Keeping those plants watered

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Despite the fact many Alaskans remember summers with cold, drizzly days, the plants in your garden still need to be watered...even when it rains. Our garden experts say plants dry out quickly in Alaska.

Master Gardener Amy Olmstead says there are better times than others to water.

"It is probably best to do it in the morning and in the evening, the wind is the least likely to be blowing," she says. "Wind is one of our biggest dehydrators, more so than pure heat...but in the end, you water when you remember to water and if that is in the middle of the day and you're going to be gone all night and the next day, just water to make sure the plants get watered."

Olmstead found that living in Alaska and having a garden were at odds with each other.

"As I built more and more garden beds and raising a family and being an Alaskan and wanting to be outdoors, I created more and more things to water," she says. "Since we're gone every weekend, hunting fishing camping playing, I did not want to be home watering my garden."

Olmstead found the solution in a home watering system.

"I think the biggest thing when people look at the watering systems, they think, 'oh my gosh I could never do that.' It is so easy, it is so simple you can make it as simple as you want."

Her system is a bit more elaborate than many.

"My entire garden bed front and back is completely set up on the rain drip system, all based on timers," she says. "So I set up the timers and so depending on where we are in the season, how rainy our summer is, how hot it is, I can change the timers to be more often, less often."

According to Olmstead, the watering system saves on water and allows her to water the plants the way they prefer. "You also learn many plants like to be watered at the root system, many like to be sprayed, many don't want any water on their leaves or they get powdery mildew, or other bugs," she says.

While we were there, Olmstead showed us how easy it was to add a sprinkler head to her system. Click the video below to watch.

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