Vegetables need water to grow and if you have a vegetable garden at home, then watering your plants is one of the critical things you should learn.
It’s a given fact that you need to water your vegetables but what most people don’t realize is that how often you water your garden is a more important question to ask.
Giving too much or too little water is detrimental to your vegetables’ plants’ growth. If you don’t know how often to water gardens, all your hard work will go to waste.
In this article, we’ll give you a brief guide on when and how to water your vegetable garden and what things to avoid.
How Often Should You Water Vegetable Garden?
Watering your vegetable garden 2 to 3 times a week is usually sufficient, but there are a lot of factors at play.
Unless you own a Garden Tower 2 with its very own internal watering and composting system, there are a few things you need to keep in mind when watering your vegetable garden at home.
Factors include the type of soil you have, how big your garden is, as well as the time of day you water your plants.
Let’s take a look at the most critical factors to consider when watering your plants:
1. Type of Soil
You’d want to plant your vegetables on healthy soil since this is the basis of healthy plants. You would need to add compost on the top of your soil to make it healthy. Regular application of organic matter will also improve your soil’s ability to retain water, which is needed for proper watering.
If your soil is sandy, water will filter through. You’ll need to water your plants more if you have this kind of soil.
Using clay soil will hold more water, and therefore, clay is better than sandy soil for a vegetable garden. However, you can remedy the issue with sandy soil by adding more compost.
2. Moisture in Soil
Whether you have sandy or clay soil, you’ll also need to check the moisture level of your soil. You can use a spoon to dig your soil up to 6 inches down, and your soil must be moist until that deep, or else you’d need to water more.
Try creating a ball out of your soil. If it sticks in your hand and you can quickly form a ball, then your soul’s moisture is good enough, and watering once or twice a week will suffice. If the soil barely holds together or looks hard or cracked, you need to water more times a week.
Your soil moisture is a good indicator of how much you need to water your vegetable garden in the summer.
3. Your Garden’s Bed
Are your vegetable plants in pots or on the ground? You will need to water your garden more if your vegetables are planted on the ground rather than in pots.
How Much Water Does Your Vegetable Garden Need?
A vegetable garden needs 1″ of water per week, and this is an excellent guide to determining how much you can water your plants.
An inch of water on your garden’s soil is defined as a 1″ deep layer of water over the entire surface of your soil.
To determine how much water you’re applying to your garden, you can use a rain gauge, which you can buy, or you can also make your meter using containers.
A suitable container is a tuna can. Prepare 4 to 5 cans and place them around your garden. Put a marking for 1″ inside the cans. Check the volume of the water inside the rain gauge or your DIY cans after a week. If you reach 1″ of water inside the gauge or cans, that means you’re watering your garden enough. If not, it means you need to water more. If it’s more than 1″, it means you need to water your garden less.
An inch of water a week for your garden does not mean you should only water your garden once a week and apply this amount of water. It would be best to spread it out into different days since your vegetables need frequent watering gradually and not all at once.
How to Water Your Vegetable Garden
Now that you know how often you should water your garden, here are some tips on properly applying water:
1. Water Deeply
Shallow watering is not enough to reach deep into the soil of your garden. Your plants’ roots need water, and watering thoroughly means it gets into its roots, rather than just the surface soil.
This means you need to take your time watering your plants, making sure they gradually seep into the soil.
2. Water Gradually
Do not fill your garden with water at one time, and you need to gradually add water as overwatering can cause your plants to drown. The roots need oxygen, but too much water means they can’t breathe.
Do not apply too much water pressure to your plants if you use a hose. If you’re using a watering can, apply water over a large area and repeat the process.
3. Water the Roots and Avoid the Leaves
The plants’ roots need the water and not the leaves of your vegetables. Try to hit the soil as much as possible and avoid the leaves. Moisture on the leaves can increase your vegetables’ risks for fungal infections and diseases, especially if you water them at night where moisture is retained in the morning.
You can use a drip irrigation system if you find it hard to avoid the leaves, especially in a large garden. It is mainly done with hoses or plastic tubes placed on the ground near your plants’ roots. The hose or lines feature holes that deliver small amounts of water directly to the root zones of your plants.
4. Water During Early Morning
Watering your plants early in the morning means your plants will lose less moisture due to evaporation. It would help if you watered your plants before the heat of the day began. If you water your plant’s leaves, this gives them enough time to dry.
If you water during midday, you’ll need to apply more water since evaporation will be faster. If you water your plants at night and get water on the leaves, the droplets will stay overnight and lead to disease problems, so make sure to avoid wetting the leaves.
5. Don’t Forget to Mulch
Mulching is considered the best water-conserving technique for gardens that receive less rainfall or water. Organic mulches reduce moisture loss due to evaporation, which means you won’t need to water your garden more.
Place a thick layer of mulch over your soil and change it at the turn of every season.
Things to Avoid When Watering Your Plants
- Avoid Using a Sprinkler
Sprinkler applies overhead water to your garden. This means your plants’ leaves are watered and areas of the garden that don’t need watering, i.e., the spaces between your plants. Watering this area can lead to weeds, which will compete with your plants for nutrients.
- Avoid Watering Too Fast
Remember to water your plants gradually and to take your time. Plants need 1″ of water over the soil but don’t apply it all at once in a single watering session. Applying gradually means your soil will fully absorb the water and prevent water run-off or wastage.
- Avoid Overwatering
If your soil looks dry and your vegetables look wilted, you may think adding more water will do the trick. This is not the case and can even be as bad as not watering your garden enough. Water your garden 2 to 3 times a week and water deeply, rather than watering your garden once a week and overwatering.
One of the critical things to learn when growing your very own vegetable garden is knowing how and when to water your garden. Overwatering and underwatering are dangerous for your vegetables, which means you need to apply just enough for a healthy garden.
Key factors to consider when determining how often to water include the type of soil, moisture level in your soil, and the size of your garden. It’s not enough that you water your plants 2 to 3 times a week, or you ensure your garden gets 1″ of water a week. You also need to consider the tips we’ve provided, such as watering deeply and gradually, as well as avoiding inevitable watering mistakes to ensure you have a healthy and thriving vegetable garden.