6 factors that determine how long you need to water your garden

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Water a row of tomato seedlings

Photography / Getty pictures

Unlike chores you can arrange – such as loading the dishwasher every day, washing clothes every Saturday, or taking out the garbage on Wednesday – the frequency of watering your backyard garden depends on factors outside your control Since over watering and under watering can prevent your plant from reaching its full potential, it is important to deal with these six issues correctly.

Related: how to plan your garden

How much has it rained?

Ideally, Robert Westfield, a consumer gardener at the University of Georgia, said, “most vegetables need one to two inches of water a week.” This includes the water and rainfall you provide, so it’s your primary responsibility to pay attention to how the storms predicted this week gather. “The weather will ultimately determine the frequency of watering. As a gardener, you need to understand the weather conditions and determine the frequency of watering based on temperature and rainfall,” added Nancy Knauss, state main garden coordinator of Pennsylvania State University expansion. This means that you may need to water every other day for a few weeks, and you may not need to provide additional water at all in rainy parts of the summer.

How is your soil drained?

Consider what kind of soil you have in your garden. “Sandy soils need to be watered more frequently, just by the nature of drainage,” Westfield said. “When the particles are large, the water goes out.” Richer, denser soils retain moisture for longer periods of time, and adding 2 to 3 inches of mulch or compost around plants can also help maintain moisture. “The more organic matter in the soil, the more water in the soil,” Knaus said.

Do you have an elevated bed?

Westfield says beds planted underground often lose water more slowly than elevated iterations. “Elevated beds drain faster because you usually put improved soil with good rooting ability – but water passes through these soils faster,” he said. “Their advantage, that is, good drainage, is also their disadvantage – they drain too fast and you need to pay attention to them. One to two inches a week is the guide for traditional underground gardens. A elevated bed is likely to require more frequent and more inches of water.”

What watering tools do you use?

Watering methods vary, but experts recommend avoiding overhead watering – for example, from your hose or sprinkler – soaking plant leaves rather than their water hungry roots. “Watering the leaves of vegetable plants increases the incidence of certain fungal and bacterial diseases, especially when watering later in the day,” Knauss said. “In addition, once you have a diseased plant, watering your head will splash the pathogens in the diseased plant to the surrounding healthy areas.”

Instead, they recommend using a drip irrigation system to slowly irrigate the roots for deeper and more lasting immersion. These customizable systems are easy to build. “If you can put Lego blocks together, you can put one of the kits together,” Westfield confirmed. In addition, you should allow low-pressure water to reach the roots of plants stably. They also provide homeowners with the ability to open or close parts to ensure that vegetables in each part of the garden get the required amount of water.

What did you plant?

Different vegetables have different requirements for water. Westfield points out that cucumbers and sweet corn are two vegetables that require a lot of water – but neither likes to be too dry. “More than 90% of many vegetables are water – it must come from somewhere!” Knaus said. “A stable water supply is essential.” Tomatoes are a good example. “When plants go through a dry period, the second is too much water,” she said. “Heavy rain or too much watering will cause the tomato to expand faster than the skin grows, so it will crack, but the continuous supply of one or two inches of water a week will reduce its meat quality and damage its chances.”

How wet is the soil?

The most effective way to know when to water is also the simplest: dirty your hands. “Feel the soil,” Westfield said. “If water is completely detected – so, if you can feel a little bit inside – I may delay. You don’t want your plant to remain saturated and wet all the time, but if it’s really dry, it’s time to irrigate again.”

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