Some people like to water their veg every morning and every evening, others like to water once a day, others just a couple of times a week. Here are our thoughts on the matter….
A FUNDAMENTAL RULE:
Whatever advice you read about watering, we would encourage you to do one very important thing. Check the soil moisture regularly before deciding whether or not you need to water.
We say this because often looks can be deceiving. When a wet spell is followed by a dry spell, the surface of the soil may dry and crack, but underneath there may be plenty of moisture. On a drizzly day the surface of the soil may look lovely and moist, but underneath it could be as dry as a bone. So, before you get the watering can out for the umpteenth time, check. Just push one of your fingers or a trowel into the soil a bit and have a peek to see how far down the moisture goes. Then you can decide whether or not your plants are in need of a drink.
WHEN YOU FIRST PLANT YOUR VEG:
Soak the root balls of your seedlings in a container of water before you plant them. Then water your seedlings in well when you pop them in the ground. Aim to make sure that the soil around them (or the compost in the pot) is fairly moist, but not soggy. How much you need to give them will depend on how much moisture is in the soil already, so be sure to check it as above.
At this stage, they have not got a very mature root system and, since they are moving house (or garden!) they will struggle a bit to access the water that they need, so your job is to make it a bit easier for them. Keep an eye on your seedlings over the next few days. If the soil looks to be drying out, then give them a little water. Again, you’re looking for fairly moist soil but not waterlogged.
DURING DRY SPELLS:
We find it best to do a thorough watering (enough that the soil is nice and moist both on the surface and a few inches beneath the surface) and then leave it a few days rather than watering lightly every day. Keep checking the soil to assess how much moisture is in there and of course look out for signs of wilting leaves which are an immediate indicator that your plants may be somewhat thirsty.
Plants are much more resilient than traditional gardening advice would suggest, and actually overwatering can result in weak plants more often than not. If you are new to growing your own, then don’t worry, you will get a feel for it quickly enough and you can rely on your common sense to tell you when they need a bit more water. Some plants need more water than others, but as long as you are keeping the soil consistently moist then they will all be able to access what they need. Of course, you will need to keep a slightly closer eye on plants growing under cover in the greenhouse, and pots often need to be watered more frequently than beds, but if you are regularly checking then you should be able to keep on top of it all no problem!