Knowing when to water is crucial to maintaining a healthy and productive vegetable garden. This simple trick will put you on the right track.

During my tenure as a nursery professional, the question I fielded most frequently — besides “what high school do you go to?” — was “How often do I need to water my _ (insert plant here) _?”

There is no easy answer to this question. Every plant, garden, climate and season are different. Watering in May is an entirely different ball game than watering in August. Instead of following a set schedule, use the trick below to get to know your plants’ watering needs, and act accordingly.

I’m sure you’ll find yourself with happier plants and a lower utilities bill!

Tips for knowing when to water

  • Water early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid losing water to evaporation.
  • Over-, under-, and irregular watering is the main culprit in diseases like powdery mildew and blight. It can also lead to disformed fruit.
  • No splashing! Water deep and slow, using a soaker hose or a garden hose set to a trickle. Spraying and splashing foliage leads to disease and unhappy plants.
  • Plan on watering your veggies once per week (using the method above), but be ready to adjust the schedule to account for changes in weather. When it’s hotter, water more frequently. When it’s cool or rainy, let Mother Nature take a turn!
  • New trees and shrubs will count on you for water for the first three years until their roots establish. Water the new tree/shrub with a soaker hose for one hour to deliver water 12 inches into the soil. Dig a whole next to the roots to see how far the water penetrated the soil.

Check out the Ron Finley Project for urban gardening tips.

What is The Beer Garden?

The Beer Garden is a video series from Sam’s home garden, in which locally brewed beer is the only inorganic chemical allowed (although, sometimes even the beer is organic, too!). We use The Beer Garden to show that ecologically harmful chemicals should not be the first (or second or third) option for solving common garden problems.

We believe gardening should be all-inclusive, fun, relaxing and educational. When you have a garden problem, step back and have a beer before going right to the nuclear option. We find most problems can be solved by simply looking at them a different way.

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Photo by Geetanjal Khanna on Unsplash