A well-watered vegetable garden is pleasant to view. Some say it is therapeutic to walk along such a garden.
But all this beauty is subject to how the vegetable garden is watered. How you water the vegetables determines their health and production.
Vegetables are categorized as quick-growing crops. Therefore, the need constant watering. They need enough moisture across the different stages of development.
If unchecked, lack of enough water in a vegetable garden can prove to be costly. Better crops and healthier plants are also attributed to regular watering.
The type of vegetable is a great determinant of how a garden should be watered. But for all vegetables to be fresh and nutritious, they need enough water.
Some vegetables must be watered more. A good example are the cucumbers and tomatoes. They require regular watering to mature into tasty treats.
Why water your vegetables?
Vegetables are a group of plants that cannot survive without water. It is estimated that vegetables are 80 percent water. Therefore, regular watering is what retains this state.
There are some vegetables that are also almost 90 percent water. Such include lettuce and broccoli. It means that they need a lot of water to survive and thrive.
Water for vegetables allows the take up of minerals. It is through the roots that such minerals are absorbed for the vegetables. If not watered, the roots lose the capacity of absorption. The roots may also absorb saturated salts that easily cause vegetables to dry.
To be more technical, watering vegetables is necessary for photosynthesis to occur. This is the process through which plants use the sun energy.
The vegetables require water from the roots and carbon dioxide. The process creates food for the vegetables.
How often should a vegetable garden be watered?
It is not a question of whether, but how often vegetables should be watered. This is because vegetables cannot survive without regular watering. But you cannot just decide to water vegetables. Start with the most basic by feeling your soil.
When soil in a garden is well watered, it sticks in your hand. In fact, well-watered soil can be formed into a ball. But there is this soil that barely holds together. The surface of such soil is hard and can hardly be picked up. This is definitely a call to water your garden.
Experts recommend a one inch of water per week for the vegetables in a garden. But it may not be in your knowledge how to measure these levels.
All you need to know is to use basic observation of the ground. It is not so hard, to decide watering a garden when it starts cracking up.
Does vegetable and soil type determine the watering frequency?
There are types of vegetables and soils that have specific need for water. A good example are soils that do not hold moisture.
These are soils such as sand and those with thick texture. With less holding capacity for moisture, it is obvious that these gardens have to be watered often.
But there are those soils that hold moisture content. Such soils include loamy and clay soils. They are types rich in organic matter. For such gardens, watering only once or twice a week is okay. The vegetables would still survive with the retained moisture.
The frequency of watering also has to do with the type of vegetables. It is important that a gardener understands the type of vegetable.
This ensures that they are aware of the amount of water needed. Therefore, the watering frequency changes with the type of vegetable in the garden.
Should I water my vegetable plants every day?
Every day is watering day for gardeners. But there are many factors that determine the frequency. Such factors including the climate play a critical role. For each climate, a gardener has to identify the amount of water that the plants need.
For the sunny and dry climates, more water is needed for the vegetables. This calls for regular watering to avoid withering. The vegetables require more water to protect the health of leaves and roots.
But there are times when rains fall. These are seasons when the watering has to be reduced. Some plants may not even need more water.
They only need the little they get from the rains in such seasons. It therefore comes down to different amount of water for different weather conditions.
Every day watering has also been associated with overwatering of vegetables. If water soars above the soil in a vegetable garden, you have overwatered them.
This causes a major risk of wilting. The vegetable’s health is put at risk. Overall, it is not about watering every day, but when necessary.
Best time of day to water vegetable plants
Is there the most ideal time for watering vegetables? This is a question that can’t receive a final answer. This is because many factors come into play when making watering decisions. You cannot identify the morning hours as ideal, if you are not available.
But there is a recommendation to have vegetables watered in the morning. This is while the leaves still hold some dew. It gives time for the foliage to dry. It also prevents some diseases caused by fungi. But that does not mean watering in the evening is wrong.
what you should avoid is watering plants mid-day. This is especially on hot seasons. It is a time when the scorching sun hits the ground. A lot of water would be lost through evaporation. It would be even worse than not watering at all.
How do I keep my vegetable garden moist?
Keeping the vegetable garden moist is no easy task. Sometimes it may be viewed as easy as watering it. But there are certain routines that can work best in maintaining the moisture. There is no need of regular watering just to make sure the ground is moist.
Adding just sufficient water to the ground is vital. It is required that you see unto it that it penetrates the ground. When well penetrated, the water reaches the roots of vegetables. In such a case, the deep moisture is retained and not easily lost through evaporation.
You can water a garden are still have the water retained all day. Mulching in this case has been recommended. Add sufficient mulch on the ground to avoid water loss. The vegetables enjoy the moisture under the mulch.
But the mulching has to be determined by the amount of moisture and the weather. Where areas receive less than 40 inches of rainfall annually, mulching is necessary. This is because the water is not enough to sustain vegetables through the hot weather.
But there is also a requirement to use the best techniques in mulching. Well spread mulch on the surface covers the ground. Moisture is retained under the mulch.
The mulch is also good for maintaining the soil temperature. It is obviously the secret to regulating moisture loss from the ground.
Is deep watering of vegetables necessary?
Vegetables depend on the roots to absorb water and necessary nutrients. With this in mind, watering vegetable gardens deep is necessary. For many types of vegetables, they are deep rooted, watering only the surface is like wetting the steps.
Going deeper while watering reaches the deep roots. It is the part of the ground where the health of the vegetables starts.
The root system has to be well watered than any other part. The leaves require water for photosynthesis, but it is the roots that determine how much they get.
As the roots of vegetables receive more water, they grow deeper. They also spread well across the ground. This is important for water absorption.
The wider the roots outsource water, the better for the vegetable. The roots easily access enough minerals for vegetable growth.
It is easy to identify deeply watered vegetables. They produce large, full leaves and thick color. It all comes down to the deliver of water and absorption of minerals.
Deep watering also silts away chemicals and salts. It is considered appropriate to prevent diseases and withering of vegetables.
Hand-watering is recommended for vegetables
Gardeners have different preference for watering their vegetables. Hand watering is among the recommended techniques. Watering vegetables by hand allows adequate control. It means you can control the intensity of water and the applied pressure.
Some vegetables are weaker in stem compared to others. They cannot withstand the pressure of horse pipes or sprinklers. In such a case, using a watering can is recommended. A gardener can also use a pipe, but using a hand-held technique.
A longer hand-watering hose allows for easy movement. Vegetables are mostly planted in rows in a garden. For some techniques, the vegetables may not receive adequate amount of water.
Hand-watering is good to avoid such occurrences. You can easily move and identify the parts that need watering.
Hand-watering also gives the gardener enough control for water flow. A gardener can easily control the volume of water. All in all, the experience of moving across the garden cannot be matched.
Can you overwater a vegetable garden?
Of course, it is possible to overwater a vegetable garden. When the water is too much for the soil to hold, this is overwatering. It leads to water logging of the soil. The water soars above the ground and reaches the vegetable stem.
A rainy season is a time when it is easy to overwater your vegetable garden. This is because the rains provide a lot of water.
When the rains stop, any gardener who follows a watering routine will still water them. But the reality is, the routine will lead to over watering.
The moisture holding capacity of the soil is also another factor. There is no need of watering a garden if the soil is still moist.
If you insist on watering, the soil moisture will exceed. Vegetables just need enough water. But gardener’s routines predispose the vegetables to overwatering.
How to know you’re overwatering your vegetable plants
It is not all lost for gardeners. Luckily, there is a way you can identify overwatering of vegetable gardens.
When you identify wilting of leaves, this is overwatering. When you identify dying symptoms, it could also be as a result of overwatering.
But wait a minute, overwatering is something you can see. Just by looking at the soil, you can tell whether it holds too much water.
By stepping on the garden, you can tell the level of water. These are just basic observations that a gardener can make.
It is also possible to know whether you are overwatering, by monitoring the watering routine. There are times a gardener can decide to cut down on watering. This is especially if they identify the effects of overwatering.
A gardener can cut down on water and vegetables grow normal. This is a sign that they were overwatering their vegetables.
It is easy to identify when and how to stop watering. The decision comes down to being present to identify the water needs for your vegetables.
Signs of under watering vegetables
Besides overwatering, underwatering is also an issue for gardeners. The obvious conclusion is that plants are not getting enough water.
It is among the many risks of unhealthy vegetables. It must be avoided at all cost. If not well tackled, it risks losing production as expected of any vegetables.
When vegetable leaves start to curl and dry, you are underwatering them. The leaves turn brown from the normal dark green. On the touch, the leaves feel crispy and dry.
The dripping of leaves has also been associated with underwatering of vegetables. But the worst is when vegetables show slow growth and smaller leaves.
Overall, there is no right or wrong way of watering your vegetable garden. But there must be check and balances to ensure you di it correctly.
The health of the vegetables should be a major guiding factor of deciding how best to do it. It is only by doing it right that the vegetables will flourish and produce more.