Along with good soil texture, knowing the best way to water vegetable garden is key to guaranteeing a good harvest. Name any vegetable, whether cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, etc., they all need the right amount of water consistently to mature into tasty veggies. Unfortunately, many gardeners go about the business of watering their garden without an effective plan.
To be clear, watering a garden the wrong way, no matter how much water is used, leads to avoidable problems. For instance, vegetables like squash and tomatoes would look distressed and prone to diseases with too much watering. While you’d end up with a miserable harvest when you deprive plants like onions of adequate water.
So what is the best way to water your vegetable garden? This post would sort everything out for you. While the information might feel like a lot to unpack at first, it wouldn’t take long to get the hang of it and start watering your garden like a pro.
The Best Way to Water Vegetable Garden
When it comes to watering a garden, there is no single ‘best’ way to go about it. It all depends on your gardening situation and how it can be adapted to the type of soil in your garden, the amount of rainfall you get, and the type of vegetables you have.
The tips below cover practically any garden situation. They are flexible and simple enough making them easy to customize and sync with your vegetable garden watering requirements.
Top Tips on How to Water Your Veggies the Right way
Use water hose
‘Water deep’ and ‘Water efficiently’ are the two key phrases to always keep in mind when watering your garden.
The most important part of the vegetable when it comes to watering is the root system buried beneath the soil. You want the water to get to them to encourage their growth and spread.
Efficient watering implies that you have to point the water stream from the hose at the base of the plants. Keep watering with a slow, steady stream until the water starts pooling around the base before moving on to the next plant.
Choose a long hose when manually watering your garden. A long hose means you can easily move in and between the vegetable rows. You might want to take the dimensions of your garden so you know the length of hose you need when going to buy one.
Watering the plants from above is inefficient and wasteful. In this case, water that should go directly to the root is wasted spraying the foliage and leaves. That is why using a sprinkler to water vegetable gardens is considered one of the most inefficient ways of going about it.
If you don’t have the time to use a regular hose (yes, it can be tedious and time-consuming) simply purchase a drip or soaker hose. The soaker hose is virtually a gold standard when it comes to efficient and deep vegetable garden watering.
You can simply place it close to the plants and let the water dripping out to slowly and deeply soak the soil. However, it is best if the ground is even or flat. On uneven garden surfaces, you are likely to get more water at one end than the other.
Use drip irrigation
You might think using this method is only for commercial agriculture. The whole idea could be daunting but it’s doable for small vegetable gardens.
There are lots of drip irrigation kits for small gardens you can purchase online or at garden stores at very affordable prices. You’d be surprised how much bang for the buck you will get with some products.
Drip irrigation in gardens takes efficient use of water to a whole new level. With this system installed, you are assured the garden would get the right amount of water consistently.
The system uses pressurized water emitters to release a preset quantity of water to specific areas and at specific times. With the system, you can easily optimize all aspects of water use in your garden.
Watering the different growth stages of vegetable plants
By now, you’d have a pretty good idea about what is required when it comes to deep, efficient watering of vegetables. Knowing how to water the different stages of vegetables as they grow to maturity is also important.
Watering newly planted vegetable seeds – Use a watering can to water vegetable seeds that are yet to germinate. Since the soil must be consistently moist, watering once a week might not cut it. The frequency, though, also depends on the amount of rainfall you get. All things being equal, opt for daily watering or at once every two days.
After the seeds germinate, you can now start watering once a week. Keep in mind you might need to adjust the schedule for hot and dry days by giving them extra water.
Watering young vegetables – At this stage of their growth, the root systems are working hard to get established. The plants are not resilient yet. Though you don’t have to water as much as the seedling stage, you still have to ensure the soil is consistently moist. Again, increase their dose of water if the weather becomes hot or very windy.
When the veggies are all looking stronger and established, it’s time to transition them to a regular watering schedule of once or twice a week.
Watering established vegetable plants – Everything we’ve discussed so far on how to water plants was focused on matured or established veggies. So you have a pretty good idea what the drill is.
To recap: water deeply, target the soil and root system, and let the water soak the soil (this encourages the root systems to grow deeper into the ground) until it starts pooling around the plant. And don’t use sprinklers.
The watering schedule is about once a week, or twice a week when the weather is hot and dry or very windy.
The best time to water vegetables
The best time to water vegetable garden is early in the morning. Because it is often cooler at that time of the day, the soil is not likely to lose much water due to evaporation before the water sinks in deeply.
Also, if you are watering with a regular hose, no matter how careful you are, some water would inevitably splash on the leaves. Watering in the morning gives the leaves the whole day to get dry. The is crucial because water on leaves can promote the spread of disease in the garden.
If you can’t do it in the morning because of a busy non-gardening schedule, the next best time is late in the evening when it is cooler. But be mindful of getting as little water as possible on the leaves because they won’t dry out as quickly due to cooler night temperatures.
How often to water your vegetable garden
By now, you might have noticed we’ve touched the ‘how often’ question a bit. It is worth elaborating on though. The most efficient use of your water is to water the garden about twice a week. Each watering session must be deep so the water can seep into the ground for established plants.
For seedlings and new plants, the frequency can be increased because these plants need more water. Once or twice every day is ideal depending on weather conditions. The sticking point is to ensure the soil is moist all the time.
In terms of the amount of water, aim for at least an inch of water every week. But this can be adjusted depending on weather conditions. You could pick any particular day of the week as your designated garden watering day.
When the weather is hot and dry, the garden would require more watering. And when there is rainfall, less watering would be needed.
To ensure you don’t over-water the garden, get a simple rain gauge and place it in the garden. A tall, plastic rain gauge that won’t break easily or get obstructed by plants is preferable. This would let you know the amount of water the garden got after any rainfall.
If the garden gets up to or more than an inch of rain the week following your designated watering day, you can skip the next watering session. To be doubly sure, use a trowel to dig into the soil a bit to check if there is enough soil moisture.