The Q&A Archives: Water v. Shade

Question: Am I over watering? I have mature tomatoes(2 ft), squash, eggplant, cucumber, bananna peppers, watermelon. I water the plants using 1Gal drippers for 1.5Hrs 1X daily at 7am. The ground appears to dry during the later part of the day but the soil is moist below the surface. The garden is shaded with 75% light restrictive screen over 60% of the garden.

My garden is 10x40 area on the east side of my home with a 6' wall on one long side and my home on the other long side of the garden. My home faces North. I have a Home Depot purchased sun screen material (6'x20') that is shading 6' of the 10' width down the entire garden. So there is direct sunshine between 9am - 2pm. Thnak you. I just fertilized with Miracle Gro for Vegetables and mulch. Thnak you

Answer: You didn't say why you think you are overwatering. Were there symptoms, such as yellowing leaves? Vegetables require consistent soil moisture. As long as the soil is moist, not saturated, and the plants don't look like they are suffering (such as yellowing leaves), your watering schedule may be fine, especially during this hot spell. Put a generous layer of mulch (4 or 5 inches) on top of the soil to help maintain moisture and reduce evaporation. Apply water when the top inch or two of soil dries out. Be careful not to apply more water if the leaves look wilted. Big leaves, such as melons, may wilt because the roots can't uptake water fast enough to compensate for evapotranspiration, so gardeners automatically apply more water thinking that will cure it, but the saturated soil causes root rot. Wait until the following morning. Often, during the cool night, the plant recovers and the foliage perks up. Good luck with your vegetable garden!

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