The gardener should plan on visiting the garden each day of the growing season. We think early morning is best. You can inspect the garden and check for any concerns. If the garden needs watering this is a great time to do it.
Some gardeners wait to come in the late afternoon only to find their plants under stress due to drought. Lettuce and broccoli once stressed turn bitter and stay bitter no matter how you tend them after that.
We recommend that you hand water your backyard garden. This allows you to water each plant carefully and use just the right amount of water that is needed.
The biggest problem we have seen is that gardens are allowed to dry out in the spring before planting. Once dry it is very hard to re-hydrate the soil but you MUST before planting. Do this by gently spraying the top layer to just moisten it. Do not get it wet! Now gently work that moist top one inch layer into the top 10 to 12 inches of soil. If it needs more water repeat. NEVER get your soil wet or too damp during this process or your soil will clump. After it is thoroughly moisten down 10 inches or more you are now ready to plant.
Simple Watering Tips for a Successful Garden
Check your garden each day (preferably in the mornings) for water needs, insect concerns, plant condition etc.
Check the soil for moisture by sticking your finger down several inches into the soil. If it feels cool and moist you may not need to water at that time.
If the weather forecast for that day is warm to hot you may need to return in the late afternoon and water.
Use a nozzle with a gentle spray pattern.
Water gently and water around the base of plants.
Try not to splash soil on the leaves of plants such as tomatoes or squash. This could spread disease.
To conserve water use mulch around your plants.
Use dried grass clippings (with no weed killers or pesticides) around the smaller plants like carrots, lettuce and spinach
Raised garden beds are easy to water and maintain.
Make sure your entire garden bed is moistened (corner to corner) each time you water. The roots go far beyond where you expect.
NOTE: We don’t recommend automatic sprinklers for our gardens. They water everything the same. Even when drip systems are used they tend not to do the same quality job as hand watering.