How Often Should I Water A Raised Vegetable Garden? Dos and Don’ts.


If you are dreaming about, beautiful juicy fresh organic vegetables, eye-catching flowers and sweet sweet fruits, there is no better way to fulfil your dream then raised bed garden.

There are countless benefits of a raised bed garden, including high-quality gardening soil, no hard clay problem, no problem of few nutrients and no weed problem.

This all mean you can grow your favourite veggies more closely and produce a higher amount of yield. Plus if you spend a little money on it, they look so cool in your garden. Here is the question of the day: 

How often should I water my raised bed garden?

Plants in a raised bed garden usually need more water and nutrients for good growth. So it is good to watch out the moisture level of your soil.

There are so many factors that involve in watering your raised vegetable garden. I will try to explain each and every one in detail. Here is the overview of factors:

  • Time of watering
  • Rain 
  • Vegetable growth and type
  • Temperature or Season

Time Of Watering:

Morning: Early in the morning is the best time to water your veggies garden. That will give the water time to run down in the soil so plants roots can reach the water.

Watering in the morning is also good because it will give plants the strength to fight with intense sunlight. If you think watering in the morning will make your plant susceptible to scorch, don’t worry it is just a myth. 

Afternoon: Late afternoon or early evening is the 2nd best time to water your veggies if you don’t have time in the morning. There is still some heat left in the late afternoon to dry the plant. Most intense sunlight is gone in this time, so plants have a lot of time to absorb the water.

There are a few things you need to take care if you watering in the early evening. Do not water the plant after the heat of sunlight is totally gone. Because it will leave the plant damp and cause fungal infections which can kill the plant.  



Rain:

We know rainwater is the best kind of water for plants. It has so many benefits. But do not stop giving water to your plants when there is raining. Why? The water that falls as rain, is not available 100%.

Some water flows away from plants, some water evaporates. So it is good to watch out your vegetable garden even on rainy days. I’m not saying to go and start watering your each and every plant like regular days. Just see generally which plant needs some water. 

In a perfect world, one-inch rain per week is enough for our plants to thrive beautifully. And of course, that is not gonna happen. That is why we need to check our soil regularly.

If you wanted to work on the next level, a rain gauge is the best thing to measure the rain per week. And if it is less then one inch per week then water your raised vegetable garden. 

Vegetable growth and type:

Seeds Or Seedlings: After planting the seeds and it becoming seedlings and produce little shoots then water them on a daily basis. On this stage, they need constant moisture.

Keep your garden bed moist all the time. Do not soak the soil. There is a big difference in soaking and keeping bed soil moist. Also, do not water heavily, it will wash up all the seeds. Try not to disturb the seeds and when they reach to seedling stage. 

Vegetable Stage: When plant develop nicely and you starting to see fruits like tomatoes, pepper, eggplant etc, it means its time to water them deeply. No need to water these plants on a daily basis, but don’t let the soil dry all the way down.

Below I will talk about different methods to check if the soil is dry or not. If you have tomatoes plants in your bed, and these plants are getting enough water and their leaves are not brown at edges, it means all of the other plants in your raised vegetable garden are getting enough water according to the Texas AgriLife Extension Service. 



Temperature and Seasons:

The temperature of different seasons is a big factor in watering needs. Obviously, plants need more water in summer to survive against harsh sunlight. Plants need 3 times more water in hot weather than in cold weather.

This is because the evaporation process is out of control in summer. But can reduce evaporation by adding some compost, mulch (straw or leaves) to your garden bed.

 In winter season extra moisture is not an option. It can freeze the plant. 

1 inch per week is a rule for normal temperature which is 15C or 60F. With the increase of every 6C or 10F, you need to add half-inch of moisture.  Means if the temperature is 21C then your raised vegetable garden need 1.5 inches of moisture per week. 

How To Know If Soil Need Water:

There are different methods to know if your soil needs water or not. As I mentioned above you can use a rain gauge. But here are two basic methods to measure the need for water.  

General Thumb Method: Put your thumb or finger inside your bed soil about 1 inch deep in normal temperature days. If it feels dry, it means this is the time to water the plants.

Why in normal temperature days? Because in very hot summer days, 1-inch moisture is not enough, make it 1.5 inches in very hot summer days. 

Clay Ball Method: Pick up some soil of bed in your hand and make a ball out of it. If it sticks as a ball, it means moisture level is good. But if break, then watering is necessary. 



How To Water A Raised Bed Garden?

Here are some best and basic ways to water your raised vegetable garden.

Water By Hand: This is the best and very satisfying way to water your vegetables. Use a very slow and low stream of water, it is very effective. High stream waste a lot of water. 

Drip Irrigation method: This method is also called drop by drop method. Drip irrigation is not just for commercial agriculture. Home kits are available on stores on cheap prices too.

This is very effective because you can target a specific area of the bed using pressurized emitters. You can also measure the amount of water giving to your plants.

A normal sprinkler has an efficiency of 60-70%. But this method has an efficiency of 90%. Pressurized emitter targets the root zone of the plant, this is how this system minimizes the loss of water and reduce evaporation. 

This drip irrigation system has different valves to control the flow of water. The first valve can turn off or on the whole supply of water. This valve is very close to the source of water. This other valves can turn off or on the supply of water on a specific place or plant. 

Drip or Soaker hose. This is very effective because you can target the root zone of plants using this method. This system is best if your garden bed is uneven. 

Best Practices For Your raise Vegetable Garden In Term Of Watering: 

Here are few best dos for your bed: 

Observe Your Plants: So many plants are very adaptive to nature. In hot summer days, plants wilt look like they are gone but they come to life when the hottest part of the day is gone. This is an adaptation to fight with harsh days. Do not let them fool you. 

Deep Water: Water deeply is good for plants. Shallow water on a daily basis is not as good as water deeply only 2 or 3 times a week. It will soften the soil and will allow water to reach to roots of plants. 

Soil Protection: Use mulch to save the soil in your bed. You can add some straw or dead leaves on the bed to reduce the evaporation of water. Add some more compost every year.

You can buy some compost or make your own. Adding mulch and compost is good in summer, it also protects soil from frost in the winter season. Mulch also protects plants from fungal infection and growing weeds in bed. 

Know Your Soil Type: Type of soil has a direct impact on your watering schedule. Sandy soil needs more water than clay soil. Sandy soil needs more than 1 inch per week. But in case of raised bed garden, and good compost pile, 1 inch per week is good enough. 

Early Morning Watering: Try to water your vegetables early in the morning. As I mentioned it before. Watering early in the morning has so many benefits. But if you don’t have time in the morning, then the late afternoon is not that bad. 

After Raining Water: Believe it or not, watering after the rain has so many benefits. After the rain, the soil is soft and receive water more efficiently. The extra water on raindrops can push the rainwater deeper and close to the root zone of plants.  

Talk To Plants: Talk to plants, if they have wilted leaves, it means they are trying to tell us we need water. If they have brown edges leaves, they need water. Observe them and fulfil their needs. 

Observe Your Soil: Use your fingers, spoon or towel to check the moisture level of the soil. 



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What Not To Do?

Do not water too fast: If you are watering with hand, do not hot very hardly with water. It will hurt the plant, plus soil does not have enough time to absorb all the water and lots of water will evaporate or runoff. That is why do not water too fast, instead of water slowly or use drip irrigation method for best results. 

Shallow Watering: Shallow water on a daily basis is necessary only for seeds or seedling. Seeds don’t have roots and seedling has small roots, so they both need shallow water on a daily basis. But if plants are fully developed, then shallow water keep the roots of plants near the top of the soil.  If that happen, plants can die even if there is only some heat to bear. 

Using Sprinkler to water: Overhead watering is not good for plants. It will bring the wrath of bacterial and fungal diseases on plants.  So much water will evaporate. That is why this method has only 60-70% efficiency. You will end up watering nearby areas, which can produce weeds in that area later.  

Do not Mist your Plants: After watering, do not mist your plants, that can transfer different disease and harmful diseases from one plant to other. There are some spores of diseases that need water for transfer. So misting after watering is not a good idea. 



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