When you have a vegetable garden, you may need answers to several questions. The most common questions include, what is the best time to water your garden? How much water is required? When watering your vegetables, avoid the common mistake of applying too much water. Read on to learn how often you should water your vegetable garden.
Water One Inch per Week
When watering your garden, the general guideline you should follow is to supply an inch of water per week. An inch of water is equivalent to 60 gallons per every hundred square feet. In hot weather, vegetables will need more water. You can add about half an inch of extra water per week for every 10 degrees if the temperature is above the average of 60 degrees. To get the average temperature, you add daytime high and nighttime low, then divide by two. Remember that plants like tomatoes, squash, and eggplant require lots of water since they wilt quickly during hot weather.
Collect and Measure Rainfall
You may not need to water your garden quite as often during the rainy season. You can measure an inch of water your plants require by using a rain gauge. As recommended by the folks behind Weather Station Advisor, you can also prevent overwatering by using a rain gauge to promote the quality growth of your plants. A rain gauge is a must-have instrument if you are interested in monitoring the weather to ensure that your garden is not impacted. You can easily monitor the amount of rainfall to know how much you should supply to your garden.
Record Rainfall in a Garden Journal
Recording rainfall is just as important as collecting and measuring rainfall. Consider buying or creating a garden journal to record rainfall and your watering schedule. Not only is this a helpful way to track your watering schedule, but it’s also super helpful to compare previous months and even years.
Quality of Soil
The quality of soil also determines the frequency of watering your garden. Healthy soil is good for plants, and you can achieve this by adding organic matter like compost. If you add compost to your soil, you improve its ability to retain water and suppress the occurrence of diseases. Your plants will perform well if you water them at least three times a week. Make sure your landscape has good drainage to ensure retention of moisture. Water can run on the soil’s surface if it’s too compact, and the roots will not receive sufficient moisture.
Water Early in the Morning
It is recommended that you water your plants early in the morning. You can also water in the evening, but avoid doing it during the day to prevent moisture loss to evaporation. The advantage of watering before the heat sets in is that dew will still be on the leaves, which helps reduce water loss. The sunlight will be at its weakest point, so the plants can adequately absorb moisture.
When the soil is warm, do not water your plants, and make sure you do not water the leaves to prevent disease. Try to soak the soil to encourage the vegetables to grow deeper roots to avoid becoming susceptible to heat. For a healthier crop, make sure the plants have deep roots to reach and get more nutrients. Light watering will leave the surface dry, and your plants may not enjoy quality growth.
Use Drip Irrigation or Soaker Hose
When you apply water close to the plants, it will go straight into the root zones. This irrigation method is effective since it helps you prevent water waste. Sufficient penetration of water into the soil means that it can retain moisture for a long time. Surface water evaporates quickly, so drip irrigation helps build a water reserve in the soil. As a result, the frequency of watering your garden will be reduced.
Type of Vegetables
Knowing the types of vegetables in your garden is vital since this will help you understand the amount of water they need. Other plants have deep roots, which means they may not need regular watering. The size of the plants also influences the frequency of watering they need. You need to water seedlings twice a day until they are established. You can find this information and more from an agronomist in your area.
Potted vs. Outdoor Vegetables
Another important thing you should know is that potted vegetables require different amounts of water than outdoor vegetables. A pot tends to hold moisture for a long time, whereas water drains quickly in a garden. Therefore, you must be careful to avoid overwatering crops in containers. Plants in the ground will need about one inch of water every week. You can water the vegetables at least three times per week and consider if there is rain. Feel the soil with your hands first to check sufficient moisture. When the soil is dry, you should consider watering to reduce moisture stress, affecting your plants.
Sunlight in Your Zone
The frequency and intensity of sunlight received in your area significantly affect the amount of water your garden will need. If you live in an area with a sunny climate, it means you should water your vegetables frequently. You may also need to create some shade to block direct light from the sun. If you observe the plants in your garden beginning to wilt, it shows they need some water, but do it when it is a bit cool. Do not water your plants during the day. If your vegetables receive too much water, they will begin to show symptoms of ill health.
Mulching is the best water-conserving technique to consider if you live in an area that receives below 40 inches of rainfall per year. Organic mulch, which includes grass and other vegetation types, reduces moisture lost from surface evaporation. It also reduces transpiration since the soil stays cooler. You should lay a thick layer of mulch on the soils’ surface and make sure you renew it regularly.
When you have a vegetable garden, you should know when to water it to enhance productivity. Different factors determine the amount of water you can apply to your vegetables, like soil quality, climate, size, and type of plants. Make sure you water your plants in the morning and avoid overwatering.