Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Symposium: A Group of Students and Teachers Eager to Learn about Watering From Eachother

If you are either old??? or wise you can skip this post. I am 56 myself which I am certain is above the median age of the world and am fairly certain, the US. That means a few things, two of which are: one, since I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking, I have developed many theories regarding the functioning of the world, and two, since reticence, restraint, and common sense seem to leach away with the passing of time, I am happy to share these ideas with everyone. Here's the thing: I'm right about this one!

've pretty much narrowed it down to Feedback. Feedback can make you better at anything from sex to watering plants (which is the ostensible subject of this post!). Here's how it works: when you approach a situation where you will be making choices and taking action you have to start by accumulating as much theoretical insight as you can; I will suggest some pointers regarding watering, you're on your own as to sex.

We know plants need water, we know that most plant obtain most of their water through their roots. We know water moves from the roots up through the plant and is ultimately lost to the surrounding air by diffusion through stoma (adjustable openings in leaves, mostly). This entire process is called transpiration. When it's hot more water is lost through this process. Lower humidity means more diffusion and more water loss. Soooo we are all pretty much on the same page in wanting to water more in the summer when it's hot. Things can get complicated though, Some plants respond to extreme heat by slowing down their processes, essentially going dormant. With limited root function, too much water will drown these plants. On an 89 F day with 79% humidity and no wind, most plants will use less water than they would on a 70 F day with 20% humidity and 15MPH winds. This is just one relatively simple example of how complicated things can get. Don't despair; plants are tough and we become more sophisticated waterers as we gain experience.

That is if we accept Feedback, we take an action in a situation, examine the results and if it works we go with it and if it doesn't work we try to figure out why and try another approach, and over and over. This sounds simple, and of course we all do this every day, but to do it most efficiently you have to really look closely, objectively, and honestly at the plants. This sounds easy but it is not. Keep trying though, it gets easier with time. Try not to be ruled by fear also; everyone's first instinct on seeing a wilting plant or one with yellow leaves, is to add water, and while that is often, okay usually, the right thing to do it isn't always and when its not, watering can often do serious harm. Okay I'm done; someone else wants the soapbox.

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