Now that our vegetables have been transplanted, let’s look at how to properly care for them. Here are some tried and true tips for watering and weeding your veggie garden properly.

1. When to Water

The best time to water vegetables in the garden is in the mornings while it is still very cool. Watering plants early in the morning will allow water to reach the roots with minimal loss due to evaporation.

2. Don’t Depend on Rain Only

By now you should be aware that rainfall alone isn’t enough for vegetables. Although many gardens can get sufficient rain during the spring and early summer when the weather starts getting hot, rainfall alone isn’t sufficient.

3. Water the Base of Your Plants

If you are going to use your hand to manually water your garden, try to aim the watering can at the base of the plants close to the soil level. The base of plants is where most water is needed. That is where all the action and foliation takes place.

4. Water Slowly

Most gardeners are carried away by watering the leaves, thinking that’s all the plants need. Although watering the leaves is good you should also aim to get the roots and parts that aren’t seen wet. Water taken up by the roots reaches all parts of the plants, so make watering the roots a top priority.

However, problems can arise if you focus the full blast of the hose nozzle towards the roots. Employ a slow but steady approach to watering your vegetable garden.

5. Watering 1 inch per week

Yellow leaves are a sign that your vegetable plants aren’t getting enough water. To curb this crisis most gardeners approve one inch of water per week on the average. This is just an average number and doesn’t generally apply to everyone.

How much water your plants need will depend on these factors:

Plant type: Tomatoes and peas go in season during hot summer days while others go out of season when the days start getting hot. In other words, different plants require different amounts of water to survive.

Humidity: The environment’s humidity is a strong determinant of how water evaporates from the soil. Low humidity means the environment is dry and thus much water evaporates from the soil. This means you will have to water your plants more to make up for water loss. The opposite is true for high humid areas.

Temperature: The higher the weekly temperature the more water your plants will need and the lower the weekly temperature the less water they will need.

6. Mulch Your Soil Regularly

Mulching your vegetable garden soil will help it retain much moisture. Maintain about 2-4 inches of mulch soil around the base of your plants so that when you water them the roots can access it easily.

7. Bigger Vegetable Fruits Call for More Water

Because vegetables are mainly made up of water, the bigger the fruit the more water they will need. Take for example the large size of a watermelon, they will need more water than your regular tomatoes.

If you have a mix of vegetables with both big and small fruits, it’s best to water the thirsty larger ones first using rubber garden hoses before paying attention to the smaller ones. Remember not to waste the water on the leaves but direct your watering energy to the roots.

8. Remove Weeds and Avoid Watering Under the Heat of the Day

Weeds are a common problem with most gardens. If you don’t want much competition for water between your vegetable and unwanted plants, weed the yard regularly. Lastly, avoid watering your vegetable garden under the heat of midday. The heat of midday will more than likely suck the water off the ground.

9. Weed after it rains.

It is far easier to remove plants—and get all of the roots out— when soil is moist, not dry. When you do get rain and the weeds are abundant, get out there before the soil dries again. The whole job will be much easier, faster, and thorough.

10. Understand how the plants spread.

If you know how a plant propagates, you have key information for stopping it. For most plants, propagation is by roots or rhizomes, on-ground runners, or by seed.

If a plant spreads by seed, you need to remove it before the flowers die off and seeds form. If a plant spreads by runners, you’ve got to cut off its pathways.

11. Protect your skin and clothing.

Sun protection, ticks, mosquitoes, poison ivy and oak, are just a few things to think about. Beware of possible allergic reactions as well. Be sure to wear gloves, long sleeves and pants. A garden apron to cover your clothes is a good idea too. Remember to wash them (including your shoes) in separate loads as soon as soon as you’re done. Even if poison ivy doesn’t touch your skin, you might pass the oil along with your clothing.


  • Wilted Plants: What should you do if your plants are wilting during the heat of the day? Nothing! If you water your plants in the morning and then by noon they are weeping and looking sad, just wait. If by 5:00 they are still looking wilted, then give them more water. This also will help the root system to become stronger and bigger as they search for water.
  • Do not over water your plants! Over watering plants can lead to fungal problems in plants! You do not want your plants sitting in too much water.
  • If all else fails, rent a goat! Did you know goats are immune to the harmful oils of poison ivy and have a fondness for the taste of these nasty vines?

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Apr 26th 2019 QCF

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