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WATERING GARDEN PLANTS isn't as straightforward as it seems. It's important to keep the soil moist around new plants, whether they are tiny seedlings or recently planted trees or shrubs, but excessive moisture can cause problems, too. The need to water varies with the type of plant, the climate and the weather.
The usual rule of thumb is that vegetable and flower gardens don't need to be watered unless the rainfall is less than 1 inch a week. However, moisture-loving plants will need more water and drought-tolerant plants will need less.
For raised beds, gardens in warm climates or gardens with sandy soil, an inch may be too little.
Fruiting vegetables such as tomatoes and peppers should be watered when it's hot, and tomatoes need consistent amounts of water to prevent blossom end rot.
Beans need more watering when they are flowering.
Sweet corn needs extra water during silk, tassel and ear development.
Melons need more water during fruit set and growth.
Some plants may wilt during the heat of the day, but revive later on. No plant should be ignored if it stays wilted for more than a few hours.
To check soil moisture, just dig down and see if there is moisture under the surface. It's the soil underneath, where the roots are, that counts.
Drip irrigation and soaker hoses are good choices as they not only conserve water, but water is delivered primarily to the root ball and not the leaves.
Invest in an inexpensive rain gauge such as our versatile weather station or attractive burnished bronze rainfall gauge to keep track of how much water your garden is getting. Also, keep the ground cultivated so water is able to penetrate into the soil rather than run off its surface.