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Vegetable Watering Guide

This resource can help you make the right call when it comes to that essential task of watering.

How much water do you really need? When is the best time to water your vegetables? How do you check soil moisture?

Find the root zone for each plant:

Imagine the plant’s leaves and stems upside down in the ground; that's its root system. The larger the above-ground growth, the larger the root system.

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Check the soil moisture:

  1. Dig down to the outer edges of where the roots are and grab a handful of soil.

  2. Squeeze test: squeeze the handful of soil as hard as you can, if drops come out, it’s too wet. Release your grip, if the soil doesn’t hold a ball, it’s too dry. A shiny ball with no drops of water has proper soil moisture.

    1. Don’t check moisture immediately after watering. To get an accurate reading, wait at least 5 minutes after watering. 

  3. Check the soil moisture every day on newly planted seedlings/seeds.

  4. Check 2-3 times per week for established vegetables.

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Applying Water:

  1. Water early in the morning or late in the evening. 

  2. When hand-watering use a fine nozzle. Try to imitate rain, nothing high-pressure. Drip irrigation or ollas are the most efficient option, providing a slow-and-steady application.

  3. The Dramm 1000PL is a great nozzle.

  4. Our auto-fill ollas and Netafim Dripline are a very efficient option.

  5. After applying water, wait 5-10 minutes and perform the squeeze test again. 

  6. It can take up to 3 waterings to adequately water dry soil. 

  7. For very hydrophobic potting soils or compost, a surfactant like YuccaWet is a good option.

Train your plants:​

  1. Water where your plant’s roots are AND where they’re going to be. Remember to check the soil moisture around the outer edges of where the roots are. 

  2. For pre-emerged seed, keep all the soil near the seed adequately moist. 

  3. As the plant matures and has a larger root network, we can focus on deep and infrequent watering to help it become more drought tolerant.

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PSA: If your water has any salts, be sure to perform a soil flush at least once a year by running the irrigation for 3-4 times the normal amount for two days in a row. 

Proper watering is one of the most underestimated practices for having healthy plants. Lots of issues can arise from improper soil moisture. Use the tools and info listed above to help your garden thrive no matter what Mother Nature throws your way!

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