How often should I water?

Asked July 20, 2019, 10:33 AM EDT

How often should I water my vegetable, herb, and berry garden during hot spells like the one we are experiencing now? In the early morning the plants look ok but by evening they look wilted and the leaves droop so I have been watering them almost every other morning. Every time I do, the ground on the next morning looks so dry that you would not know that I had watered the previous morning. Most of the leaves have remained dark green but a few have turned pale green or even yellow. Am I watering too much or too little?

Charles County Maryland fruit vegetables herbs plant care

1 Response

Frequency of watering will vary not only because of weather conditions but also soil type and even the needs of different types of plants. Many herbs, for example, like a drier soil rather than being in a situation that is too wet.

When we have excessively hot days/nights, you may need to water some crops every day, particularly if you have seedlings/newly established plants. For plants already established, you should avoid shallow, frequent watering (except for fast-growing salad greens). It encourages shallow rooting which makes plants more susceptible to drought damage. Water deeply and use a mulch layer at the base of your plants to help to retain consistent moisture. See more tips on watering on our website. https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/caring-your-garden
Here is more specific info from the University of Minnesota Extension. https://extension.umn.edu/water-wisely-start-your-own-backyard/watering-vegetable-garden#many-ways-t...

You are doing the right thing by watering in the morning. Water at the base of the plants to minimize leaf wetness (helps in the management of disease). Yellowing foliage may be an indicator of other issues; yellowing/decline of older leaves is normal for some plants during their life cycle. You are welcome to send us photos of particular plants that have symptoms and we would be happy to take a look.

Christa