Knowing when to water your garden and how much water it needs can save you time and money. Of course, the plants are also affected in a positive way when the gardener knows the best time to water. Assuming there are no typical water restrictions in your area, the following are watering guidelines for growing and maintaining a healthy garden.
Typical In-Ground Garden
Best Time to Water Your Garden
Usually, the best time to water an in-ground garden is first thing in the morning before the sun comes up so your plants will have the nutrients they need before the heat of the day takes over. Watering while it’s cool gives the plants time to soak up as much water as they need before it gets too hot and the water begins to evaporate. If you’re not able to water early in the morning, then wait until the late afternoon. For afternoon watering, make sure you water early enough so the leaves have time to dry before nightfall arrives – if the leaves remain moist throughout the cool dark night, fungal disease may develop.
How Much to Water Your Garden
How much water your garden needs may vary depending on the type of soil you have. Your soil should be moist enough that you can clump it in your hand but you can easily crumble the clump apart. To help make sure you are watering enough you can use a water meter on your hose to measure exactly how many gallons you are using or you can even put a small dish in your garden that will collect water and you can use that as a gauge to how much water is being applied. If you’re planting your garden using seeds, there should be instructions on the seed packet that will guide you to how much water each plant requires.
You’ll also want to keep tabs on the weather; specifically rainfall and temperature. If the rain is substantial, you may not need to water your garden that day. If that’s the case, set up a rain barrel to capture the rain so when it begins to heat up again, you can recycle the rain water and save a little money on your water bill. If the temperatures are low, you might be able to water your garden every other day – as long as your soil remains moist.
Raised Garden Beds
Raised garden beds usually use more water than your typical in-ground garden. A raised bed can dry out faster than in-ground gardens due to the air circulation around the garden bed. This is especially true for raised beds with porous walls. The best time to water a raised garden bed is similar to an in-ground garden – first thing in the morning. Note that giving the raised garden beds a good, deep watering every other day, or every three days, is better than giving them a shallow watering each day.
If you can’t find the time to water your garden on a regular basis or, let’s face it, you just forget to do it, a self-watering planter might just be what you’re looking for! You can plant just about anything that grows in soil in a self-watering planter and you only have to fill it up a couple of times per year. Your plants will pull the right amount of water that they need through their roots. Just make sure you purchase the right size planter for what you’re growing to make sure your garden has adequate space to grow.
Watering Tip: When in doubt, read the instructions that came with the seeds. Some vegetables and flowers may require more water and others may require less. Also, take into account your climate – if you’re in a rainy area or heavy drought area of the country adjust your watering accordingly.