watering vegetable garden

Knowing how to properly water a vegetable garden is key to producing fresh and nutritious vegetables that enhance any meal. Cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes and other garden delights need the right amount of water to mature into tasty treats. It is all too common for gardeners to go about the business of vegetable watering without a plan. Here are some top tips that will keep your garden producing and looking great all season.

The Importance of Water to Your Vegetables

The first step to correct watering of vegetable gardens is understanding the importance of water to your plants. The average vegetable is made up of more than 80 percent water. Some varieties, such as broccoli, lettuce and celery, exceed 90 percent in their water content. The obvious takeaway here is that a lack of water is the number one reason vegetable gardens fail to thrive.

It will help if you are able to accurately measure how much water your garden is receiving. The ideal scenario is to get a little bit of help from mother nature. Consistent rainfall will reduce the amount of watering you need to do, but you need to know how much water the garden is getting. Putting a rain gauge in the garden is a good way to monitor levels.

Also remember that gardens kept in the fall and winter require adequate watering, too. Just because you are growing in the cooler months doesn't mean the water needs aren't there. You may have to water less often due to the lack of heat, but you still need to keep an eye on the soil.

Use Hoses to Water Deeply

Vegetables and flowers have different structures and different watering requirements. With vegetables, the part of the plant you can see is far less important than what is happening below the ground. The root system of your vegetable plants is what matters most.

When water is consistently delivered to the roots of your vegetable plants, the roots are encouraged to grow and spread. A deeper, vaster root system means better conveyance of water to the uppermost parts of the vegetable. This delivery of water is what produces large, full vegetables.

The problem with using a sprinkler to water a vegetable garden is that the leaves and foliage of the plant are getting the most water. A soaker hose will do a far better job of keeping the soil moist and letting water seep beneath. Like a sprinkler, you can place a soaker hose and let it do the work for you. These hoses can also be placed more effectively than sprinklers.

The Best Time of Day to Water a Vegetable Garden

Another problem with using sprinklers to water at various times of the day is that excess moisture on leaves can create health problems for plants. These issues can include diseases and fungus which will drastically affect the production of your garden.

The best practice for watering a vegetable garden is to go about the work early in the day. Watering in the early morning hours means you will lose less water as the air warms and evaporation occurs.

When you water vegetables during the morning hours, any water that accumulates on leaves will have the opportunity to dry. This means you will have healthier plants that require less maintenance.

Hand-Watering Is More Effective

If you don't want to use a soaker or drip hose for watering, you should still water your vegetables by hand. Every good gardener knows the importance of a good hose. You'll want to choose one that can withstand the elements, and length is also an important consideration.

Using a longer hose for hand-watering means you will be able to move the hose more easily between the rows of your garden. A short hose poses greater risk to the base of your plants as you move it from spot to spot.

When you water by hand, you have more control over directing the flow of water. You can also control the volume of water that is passing through the hose. It is best to water slowly with a small stream. A high volume of water will tend to run off while slower watering will penetrate the ground and make its way to those roots.

How Often Should You Water a Vegetable Garden?

There is a tendency for gardeners to water a little each day. This is much less efficient than watering two to three times each week. Watering deeper on a less-frequent schedule will give the water time to seep into the ground.

You should strive for placing about an inch of water once each week on your vegetable garden. This has long been the rule of thumb, but you should adjust that based on the climate where you live. Obviously, hotter climates with less rainfall will require more watering.

Taking care of your garden and raising healthy vegetables should be a fun endeavor. By using these tips for watering, you will save time and effort. That equals a more pleasant experience and better tasting food.

All content provided in this article is for general informational purposes only. All use of products referenced in this article should be done in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

For more information on watering vegetables, read the following articles:

A Guide to Effective Lettuce Watering in Your Home Garden

How to Water Tomato Plants in the Garden

8 Tips for Watering and Growing Container Plants


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