Most vegetable plants need more water than other types of plants. This means that vegetable gardens need to be watered fairly frequently.
As a general guideline, a vegetable garden planted directly in the ground or in raised beds that are connected to the ground will have to be watered about one to three times a week. Overall, these types of gardens need to be provided with about 2 inches of water a week.
During warmer weather, the frequency of watering may have to be increased but can be decreased when the weather cools.
In addition, plants grown in sandier soils may need more frequent watering than plants grown in loamy soil as sandy soils drain faster. Plants grown in clayish soils will have to be watered less because clay soils retain more water and most vegetable plants don’t do so well in stagnant water.
The frequency of watering needed can be reduced by:
- deeply watering plants so that a reserve of water is created in the soil
- mulching to reduce the amount of water that evaporates.
Container vegetable gardens are a bit different. Container vegetables need to be watered at least once a day because the only moisture that these plants can get is that which is in the container. During warmer weather, container vegetable plants may have to be watered twice a day.
The growth stage of your vegetable plants has a big influence on how frequently you need to water them. Seedlings have to be watered daily until they are ready to be transplanted, which is usually after they grow at least one set of true leaves. In addition, watering is critical during the growth of the part of the plant used as a vegetable. For instance, fruiting vegetables such as tomatoes will need more water after fruit set, while brassica vegetables, such as cabbage and broccoli, need more water during head development, and will therefore have to be watered more frequently during this period.
To make watering as frequently as needed easier, you can:
- locate your vegetable garden near a water source so that you can connect a hose and water or carry water in watering cans over a shorter distance
- locate your vegetable garden near your house, ideally near the kitchen or back door, so that you are more likely to go to your garden even when pressed for time. This will make harvesting whenever you need a lot easier too.
- group together plants that have similar root depths and in turn water needs so that you can water each group of plants together.
Vegetable gardens need to be watered frequently to be kept healthy. The watering frequency depends on the type of vegetable garden, weather, type of soil, and vegetable plants. In addition, you can reduce the frequency of watering needed by deeply watering and mulching your vegetable garden. Strategically locating and planning your vegetable garden will make watering as frequently as needed a lot easier.