There’s water all
around us. I know that’s a bit obvious, given that
we’re on an island, but water really is
Apparently there’s water even on Mars. Following
its most recent mission to the Red Planet, NASA
released color photographs showing where water can
be found on the Martian surface.
A NASA scientist explained, “Whenever we’ve seen
pictures of Mars before, they’ve always been black
and white. It turns out the water’s been there all
along, we just couldn’t see it.”
As a result of this momentous news, NASA is now
preparing a series of missions to send humans to
Mars. As the atmosphere is immensely toxic, big
domes will need to be erected to house the first
settlers. However, as NASA now knows of the vast
water supplies, it will be able to produce
inexhaustible amounts of oxygen easily and
Boeing is said to be in co-operation with NASA to
build the first large scale ships to carry first
human colonists, settlers and supplies to the red
McDonald’s, which is part-funding the project, is
said to be delighted. In a recent statement,
McDonald’s said “This is incredible news. We are
even bringing out a new ‘McMars range’ to serve to
our first customers on the Red Planet. This is a
great day in the history of McDonald’s. In fact
it’s one small step for the world, one giant leap
NASA has begun a calculation of the estimated time
until the first man will set foot on Martian soil.
There are rumors that rookie Spanish astronaut
Chris Columbus may be asked to take this position,
a fact that has caused discontent amongst other
astronauts who feel his name gives him an unfair
The European Space Agency is considering yet
another mission to Mars. However, it has yet to
find people willing to take up the challenge due
to fears over a safe landing.
This story is of course completely fictitious, and
I can’t even take any credit for it. Mark Lowton
of TheSpoof.com deserves that.
In Phuket, water is much easier to come by and, as
the dry season approaches, the need for
supplementing normal rainfall in your garden
increases. But when to water? That’s not an easy
question to answer.
One of the most important factors in successful
gardening is knowing when and how to water. Most
things you do to your garden, such as fertilizing,
pest control and pruning, have easy-to-learn
rules. Watering has no specific rules, however,
because when and how much to water depends on the
kinds of plants, type of soil, time of year and
I suppose the bottom line is to water only when
plants need watering. Sometimes they make it easy
for you. The leaves of many plants will begin to
curl in the early stages of a water shortage.
Later, the leaves will become limp; at that stage
it’s officially wilted. Ideally, plants should be
watered before they wilt. Allowing them to wilt
frequently will result in excessive leaf dropand,
long-term, the plants may never bounce back.
Some plants may not show symptoms of a water
shortage until it is too late, so they should be
watered when the soil around them feels dry and
crumbly. Recent plantings need a bit of extra TLC.
Bear in mind that when plants were in containers
in the garden center, water was probably applied
every day. Also, during the first few months after
being planted in a garden, new plants have only
fairly small root systems and can absorb water
only from a limited area underground.
Keep a close watch on the lawn, too. If it starts
to change color, even a bit, it probably needs
water. If the edges of the grass leaves start to
curl and take on a dull, bluish-gray color, water
the lawn. Those spinning sprinklers are the
cheapest, as you can just attach them to the end
of a hose and move them to where you want them.
Watering should be done in the early morning or
evening, when temperatures are lower.
Water in the heat of the day, and much of what
comes out of the hose just disappears through
evaporation, which is a bit of a waste of time –
When watering, give the soil a thorough soaking.
Frequent, light sprinklings just waste water and
do little to satisfy the water requirements of a
plant growing in a hot, dry soil.
This style of watering also promotes shallow root
systems, which increases susceptibility to damage
if you forget to water for a few days.
A much better theory of watering is to make sure
that water reaches down to a depth of about 20
centimeters. This type of watering allows roots to
readily absorb the water. With pot plants, 3cm of
water is sufficient for the sandy soils we have in
Phuket. However, because all soils and plants are
not alike, don’t rely on this too much – you may
need to make some adjustments.
To figure out when a sprinkler has delivered 3 cm
of water, place open cans or cartons at intervals
in the spray pattern and water until the water
level in the cans averages 3 cm. Not exactly
Water should be applied only as fast as the soil
will absorb it. Watering with a hose nozzle turned
on full force can do more damage than good.
Fast-flowing water runs off quickly carrying soil
with it and exposing plant roots to the sun. More
efficient watering can be accomplished with soaker
hoses and sprinklers. Soaker hoses do a good job,
but they don’t cover as large an area as
I’ve seen Thai gardeners not only soak the ground,
but wet the leaves, too. I’m honestly not sure
what that does, but they seem to think it’s a good
idea, and it obviously works, as Phuket is hardly
short of nurtured gardens.
I think it’s safe to say that there’s a lot more
water here in Phuket than there is on Mars. I
suppose I really should apologize for the
water-on-Mars story. Then again, I rather like the
idea of a McMars. With a glass of water,