If you have your own vegetable garden, then you can count yourself as being very lucky. The fact of the matter is that due to inflation, produce prices are drastically increasing by the day. It’s becoming increasingly unaffordable to purchase vegetables from your local grocery stores.
It is much more cost effective to grow your own vegetables. There is of course also the fact that when you grow your own vegetables, you know exactly what goes into them.
When you buy vegetables from the grocery store, they’re probably loaded with a ton of genetically modified ingredients as well as toxic chemicals. Not only do you save money growing vegetables at home, but you can rest assured that they’re safely grown too.
With that being said, to be able to eat your own vegetables, they first need to grow properly. To grow properly, perhaps the most important aspect of all is water. Of course, no plant can grow without sufficient amounts of water.
One of the biggest challenges that people face is when to water their vegetable gardens. Water them too much, too little, or at the wrong times, and it can spell disaster. Therefore, the best time to water a vegetable garden is what we are here to discuss today, and more.
The Best Time to Water a Vegetable Garden
Yes, the specific which you water your vegetable garden is going to make a huge difference. Generally speaking, the best time to water a vegetable garden is in the early morning.
Specifically, you want to do so before the sun comes up, or right as it is coming up. When there is still that early morning dew on the leaves, it’s the best time to water your vegetable garden.
There are a couple of different reasons why this is the case. First of all, you don’t want to water your vegetables during the middle of the day when the sun is beating down on them.
For one, this will cause too much of the water to evaporate right out of the soil before your plants ever get the chance to suck it up. Watering when it is too sunny just doesn’t work right.
Moreover, if you get water on your vegetables when the sun is beating down on them, it can be very bad for them. That water magnifies the sunlight many times. This can actually result in your vegetables becoming burned on the surface due to that sunlight magnification.
Furthermore, watering early in the morning is also best due to the way in which plants function. Although plants don’t actually sleep, they do kind of shut down during the night. Therefore, watering them in the morning is best because you’re going to give them the fuel that they need to function during the day.
If you water them during the morning, they’ll be able to engage in photosynthesis much better. This will in turn allow them to absorb more sunlight and nutrients, and therefore grow bigger, faster, and even stronger.
Of course, you do also need to account for rainfall here. If it just rained an inch of water, then you don’t need to water your vegetable garden at all. However, somewhat counterintuitively, sometimes the best time to water a vegetable garden is right after a light rainfall.
The light rainfall already moistened the soil, but there wasn’t enough water to really penetrate down to the roots. Therefore, watering your plants right after a rainfall may be ideal to provide them with adequate amounts of water. That said, yes, this does all depend on exactly how much it rains.
How Often to Water Your Vegetable Garden
We have now covered of the best time of the day to water your vegetables. However, how often you do so also matters. As you could probably assume, your vegetable garden does not need water every single day.
Yes, this does depend on external factors such as heat and rainfall. If it rains every day, then you probably don’t need to water your plants nearly as often or at all.
Furthermore, if you are experiencing a huge heat wave, then your vegetables are likely to need far more water than they usually would. As you can see, a bit of common sense and logical thought does go a long way here. There are various external factors that you can only account for as they occur.
This is at least true to a certain degree. Of course, it also depends on the exact type of vegetables you are growing. The fact here is that most plants and vegetables do best when they are watered roughly three times per week.
For example, you could water your plants Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday. Keep in mind that this is quite general across the board. However, specific vegetables might have slightly different requirements.
Also keep in mind that adult vegetable plants are different than juveniles. If the plants are still very young, or even seedlings, they should be watered twice per day. Keeping them constantly moist will allow them to establish good root systems. That said, you obviously don’t water them with large quantities of water when doing so.
How Much to Water Your Vegetable Garden – Quantity
We have now covered when to water your vegetable garden, and how often. However, you still need to know about how much water those vegetables of yours need. Generally speaking, the rule of thumb here is that your vegetables are going to need around 1 inch of water every week.
That said, measuring 1 inch of water is not easily done if you are using a hose, a bucket, or even just paying attention to the rain. You have to be able to measure how much water your plants are getting to provide them with the ideal amounts of it.
Something you can try doing here is purchasing a rain gauge. This will tell you exactly how much it has rained in a specific amount of time.
Another thing that you can do is to use some small containers and see how fast they fill up when it rains. Simply mark an inch up from the bottom of the plan or container, and see if it fills up during the week. If you are using a hose or a watering can, it is a little more difficult to judge.
You therefore have to be able to tell if the soil is too wet, too dry, or just right. Once again, using your own judgment and common sense is required here. The bottom line is that you do have to keep water quantity under control. No, you can’t measure every single millimeter of water, but you can make some good assumptions.
How to Tell When your Vegetable Garden Needs Water
If you don’t know how to tell when your vegetable garden needs water, then everything we talked about up until now is completely moot. You need to be able to tell if and when your plants need water. As a rule of thumb, the 1-inch rule applies to most plants and vegetables.
This simply means that you need to stick your finger 1-inch down into the soil. If the top into the soil is totally dry, and even cracked, then your plants need water. However, if the soil sticks to your fingers, then you can probably hold off on watering a little bit.
Moreover, if the soil is very dry, but heavy rain is scheduled for the afternoon, you could probably hold off on water.
Also, if you see that your plants are wilting and slumping, it could be a sign that they need water. Just keep in mind that many plants do have midday slumps. They might wilt a little bit during the day, but then recover again later in the afternoon.
Once again, we really can’t stress enough just how much your own common sense and judgment comes into play here. Of course, this is a bit of a trial and error type of exercise too. Judging whether or not your plants need water is something that you will learn to do over time.
Using the Right Soil Matters
Something that we do need to touch on here is that having the right kind of soil is very important. Sure, having nutrients in the soil is crucial to the growth of your vegetables. However, there is another factor to consider here, which is drainage.
Your vegetables do best when the roots are moist and able to suck up water. However, there is of course such a thing as too much of a good thing.
If you overwater your vegetables, then the roots will start to rot, and the plants will die. A good way to avoid over watering your plants is by having the right kind of soil.
If water is able to drain away from the roots, it should prevent your plants from dying even if you do overwater them. Therefore, many people recommend putting a bit of gravel under the soil to allow water to drip away.
Moreover, having plenty of organic materials, such as mulch, compost, and fertilizer, will also help. Many of these substances, especially mulch, allow for great moisture control.
It can suck up moisture, hold onto it, and then slowly release it. When it comes to watering your vegetable garden, having good drainage and soil irrigation is crucial.
Watering a Vegetable Garden – Final Thoughts
In spite of everything we have talked about, the number one tool at your disposal here is your own common sense. If you can tell whether or not your veggies need water, then the rest should come naturally.