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How Often Should I Water My Garden?

Updated: Mar 26, 2022

"How often should I water my vegetable garden?" is one of the common questions I am asked. Most seeds require just three things to grow; soil, water and sunlight. Watering your vegetable garden correctly plays a huge role in the success and health of your vegetables.

Watering needs, even within the same yard, can vary for various reasons. The type of container, raised bed, or in-ground garden you are growing in may each have different watering needs. Sunlight, quality of your soil, size of your plants as well as wind are also factors that play into your plant's watering needs. It is important to be able to recognize when a plant is dry vs. when it is waterlogged.

How often should i water my vegetable garden?  Here is everything you need to know to water your vegetable garden, containers and raised beds in the summer.
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Avoid Overwatering

Overwatering is just as detrimental to plants as underwatering. Many plants do not like "soggy bottoms" and will suffer if roots are continually wet. To avoid overwatering ensure all plant containers you use have drainage in the bottom. When watering your vegetable garden check for pooling water that stays pooled for 10 to 15 seconds after water is no longer being applied. Soil with adequate drainage should not end up with standing puddles. If this is happening you may have high clay content and need to amend your soil.

To avoid overwatering only water when soil is dry one to two inches down. (This applies only to sprouted plants. Plants that have not germinated benefit from soil that is more moist.)

How to Know if my Garden Needs Water?

To check soil for moisture, dig down into your garden with your pointer finger. If it is dry to a depth between your first and middle knuckle (for most this is 1 to 2 inches), it is time to water. It is much better for your plants to be physically checking the soil to see when your vegetable garden needs watering vs. watering only on a specific schedule, because as we discussed above, there are many factors that will affect soil moisture from day to day.

Because containers and pots have smaller soil amounts per plant they often are the first to dry out. Keep a close eye on hanging baskets and containers in high heat.

If you notice plants wilting, before jumping straight to watering, check the soil dampness. Many plants wilt both when they are dry and when overwatered.

Make sure you don't forget to water plants protected under eaves, trees or roofs during periods of rain.

We use this water timer to turn automatically turn our sprinkler on in our garden for 20 minutes during the summer.