We use paper mulch and leaves or wood chips to mulch our vegetable plants.
Drip Irrigation puts the water where it does the most good on the roots.
Use a water breaker and direct it to the base of the plant when you are hand watering.
- New plants and seed need almost daily watering when it is warm.
- Plants need more water when they are forming fruits and vegetables.
- Larger shrubs and trees will go longer between waterings.
- Rainwater is the best, about an inch per week as measured in a rain gauge is ideal.
- Collect rainwater in a barrel to use in the garden.
- Well water is second best to rainwater.
- City water is ok if that is all you have.
- Watering early in the morning is good.
- Water new plants and seed as soon as you plant them.
- Water plants before they wilt.
- Don’t put more water on if the ground is wet 3 to 4 inches deep.
- Water the roots not the leaves.
- Mulch around the base of the plants to hold the moisture longer.
- Water close to the base of the plant.
- Water deep. 6 to 8 inches deep for vegetables and more for trees and shrubs.
- Use a garden spade to see how deeply the soil moisture is.
- In soft ground your finger works good to test moisture.
- Use a soaker hose or drip irrigation for established plants.
- Hand watering is good for small gardens but be sure to water deep and don’t wet the leaves.
- Test your own conditions but a soaker hose may need to run for 2 or more hours to wet the soil 6″ deep.
- Deep watering once or twice a week in hot weather is enough for in ground gardens. Containers need more.
- Keeping the top of the soil wet for newly planted seed is critical.
- Watering new seed may be a daily chore when the weather is warm.
- Use a water breaker when watering by hand so that you are not washing soil and plants away.
- Don’t over water. If the soil is moist leave it alone.
Check back next week when I will post about watering in containers and how to build a self watering container.