Best Watering Practices for Veggie Gardens


As we like to say, there are no bad gardeners, only bad waterers. It has become our mantra. Water is the key element when it comes to gardening. What about light and soil? Negotiable. Light can come in all forms and some would say that it is more efficient to grow plants with LEDs. Futhermore, there is an entire hydroponics/aquaponics industry devoted to growing plants without soil. Water, on the other hand, is irreplaceable. Yet, watering is the practice that people so often get wrong.

Water in the morningAlthough many of us may feel the thirst at about 6:30 pm, our plants will get a lot more benefit from an early drink. This is because plants will require water throughout the day when the sun is shining. By watering early, you ensure that the garden has a sufficient supply of water to draw upon when they need it most. 

Frequency- If you have well-draining soil, overwatering isn't really a problem. We'll probably be crucified for saying that, but that has been our experience. Pots and wall gardens, for example, can and should be watered daily as they tend to dry out quickly. Beyond that, watering will depend on a balance of the weather and what you are growing. 

Weather- Water daily during hot periods and even twice daily if it is really hot. If it is cool and wet, you can get away with less frequency, but most edible plants will benefit from some source of water every second day.
Seeds- During germination seeds want to be very moist - though not sitting in water  - so give a quick water twice daily, in free draining soil, until they sprout.
Seedlings- Should be watered daily for about three weeks, or until seedlings are large enough to mulch.
Mature plants - Once a plant is established it will have a stronger, more extensive root system, able to cope with less frequent waters. Water more deeply every second day.

Pest + Disease Control- Pests and disease flourish in dark, damp environments, i.e. your wet veggie patch at nighttime. By avoiding evening watering, you will discourage their nefarious activities and they will seek a more suitable environment elsewhere. It's like turning the lights up in a bar.

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