When I started a vegetable garden, I was dreaming of a vegetable garden full of versatile vegetables. I used to spend 3 – 4 hours in the garden for watering, wiping away unwanted plants, mulching, etc.
The most unfortunate thing was; I was not getting the result as expected. I was thinking – where is my mistake? What am I doing wrong?
I started reading top gardening websites named Kitchen Gardeners International, Chiot’s Run, etc. Also, I read books of Christopher Lloyd’s “The Well-Tempered Garden” and Beth Chatto’s “The Dry Garden.” And finally, I found my mistake.
I wasn’t watering my vegetable garden following the right way.
Today, in this article, I will share my knowledge about the best way to water a vegetable garden. I believe this guide will help my fellow gardeners.
What are the Ways to Give Water to Vegetable Garden?
Whenever a fellow gardener asks me about the tips and tricks of watering a vegetable garden, I always share the below points with them.
1# Know the Soil Type
The first and foremost secret is, you have to understand the soil type of your garden. Different mineral particles (clay, sand, rocks, silt), organic ingredients, air, and water are the soil’s main ingredients.
If you ever discussed it with other gardeners, you might have heard that they are talking about their garden’s soil type. For instance, my garden’s soil type is clay.
But don’t assume that I have only clay soil in my garden. In fact, most soil is a combination of 3 types – clay, sand, and silt.
One question might have popped up in your mind. Why is soil type important to learn?
Characteristically, clay is denser compared to other soil types and holds water for a longer period.
Clay soil requires less watering because little watering is enough in rainfall, and the soil will retain moisture after manual watering.
On the other hand, sandy soil can’t retain moisture similar to clay soil because water passes too quickly. This means you will need to water your garden if the soil is a sandy type. Also, you have to keep a close eye on the drying schedule of sandy soil.
Now the question is, how will you learn about the type of your garden soil?
Simply get your garden soil tested by your local Cooperative Extension Office.
2# Learn the Water Requirement of the Vegetable
Generally, the water requirement of vegetables is 1”/week. Here 1” means the whole garden requires 1” of water together from manual watering and rain.
But as stated earlier, the water requirement depends on the soil type.
For clay soil type, water your garden once in a week. If rain happens during the week, watering again within the week is unnecessary.
Since sandy soil doesn’t hold moisture for a long time, it would be best if you water sandy soil twice in a week. Then monitor the health and growth of your vegetables. If required, water thrice in a week.
Additionally, watering depends on the season too.
If frequent rain happens in your locality, watering every week is not mandatory. When the weather is dry and hot in summer, don’t hesitate to water your garden when necessary.
3# Use Efficient Watering System
Using a watering system in the garden is good; using an efficient watering system is better.
So, what is the most efficient way of watering your garden? The answer is – drip irrigation.
But setting up this system is time-consuming as well as expensive. However, it has many advantages.
If you live in an area where rain is infrequent in summer, drip irrigation will help you ensure that your garden is getting enough water for a whole week. Through this process, enough moisture will be ensured.
To learn more, you can read a 2-part series of Encyclopedia Britannica on Drip Irrigation.
There is another option as an alternative to drip irrigation since it is an expensive and time-consuming task. Watering at the base of the plant – it has to be ensured.
Don’t plan to install a sprinkler. It is because most of the water will evaporate in the summer season in the overhead watering option. As a result, you will receive a high water bill and an ill-fated vegetable plant.
Also, vegetables like squash, tomato leaves need to be dried as much as possible since they are sensitive to different diseases and fungal attacks.
Select the best hose reel cart with wheels and keep watering at the plant base from half a minute to 1 minute.
4# Watering at the best time of the day
Morning is the best time for watering any plant. The weather remains cooler in the morning; less water evaporation happens.
Even if your water at the plant base, some water will inevitably spread on the leaves. The leaves get a whole day to dry when watering in the morning. Drying is essential because water can spread out different diseases throughout the garden.
But in the morning, many of us remain busy with offices, schools, or universities. So, for them, watering in the morning is impractical.
They can decide to water in the evening.
The weather remains cooler in the evening too. It means less water evaporation will happen. You will need to be careful when watering in the evening about not spreading much water on the leaves.
Avoid watering in the afternoon. It is the worst time of watering your plants.
5# Mulching is the Top Secret of Success
The presence of bare soil in the vegetable garden is a bad idea. Bare soil invites weed to grow in the garden, and thus soil losses its moisture within a short time. Finally, you will need to water frequently.
On the flip side, a properly mulched garden will require infrequent watering, which means you don’t need to work a lot.
Grass clippings, hay, or leaves can be used as mulch. Mulch helps to retain moisture for a longer period and keeps weeds away from the plant.
Question: How often to water raised vegetable gardens?
Answer: Deeply Water your vegetable garden at least once a week. It will keep the soil soft, and water can easily reach the roots.
However, if sufficient rainfall is not there, decide to water twice a week. All in all, the watering process depends on the soil type. Read the first point of this article to learn more.
Question: How long should I water the vegetable garden?
Answer: The thumb rule of watering the vegetable garden is to water the garden at least 1” once a week. More watering will make the root weaker. However, water requirements depend on the plant and soil type.
You will be unable to grow a good vegetable if you don’t water your garden properly. Another important thing is organic fertilizer. Pick the best organic fertilizer and use it with the new plant. Once you ensure following the above points, examine your vegetable garden for the next season and, depending on the result, determine your next step.
Remember, all the great things come with hard work.
Don’t forget to share your success story in the below comment box.