Vegetables - Knowledgebase Question

Foxboro, Ma
Question by lolandtomfox
June 30, 2010
How much water does my vegetable garden need?


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Answer from NGA
June 30, 2010

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Unfortunately there isn't an easy answer to this question, but understanding effective watering is the most important thing anyone can do to grow healthy plants. How often and how much to water depends on many factors including plant type, age, size, soil conditions, weather conditions and the specific microclimate where the plant grows. It's best to always water deeply but as infrequently as possible. Water should soak through the root zone, which is about 12 inches for vegetables. Use a soil probe (any long, pointed piece of metal or long screwdriver to poke into the soil) to check how far water has penetrated. The probe moves easily through moist soil, but stops when it hits hard dry soil. Roots also need oxygen to survive and soil that is continually wet doesn?t provide it, so overwatering is just as bad as underwatering. Stick your finger in the soil. When it's dry to about 1 to 2 inches deep, it may be time to add more water. Layer organic mulch, such as compost, on top of the soil. It will help maintain soil moisture and reduce the need for frequent watering. If you observe you plants regularly, you'll start to get a feel for when they need more water. I hope this info helps!

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