With water becoming a scarce and costly commodity in some areas, many vegetable gardeners might wonder just how much water plants really need.
In areas without drought, a common mistake new gardeners make is watering too much!
To address the big watering question, below is a chart that tells you critical times to water each vegetable crop as well as the number of gallons of water needed.
Of course, these guidelines assume that you have rich, well-balanced soil. Increase frequency during hot, dry periods.
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|Vegetable||Critical time(s) to water for a 5-foot row||Number of gallons of water needed|
|Beans||When flowers form and during pod-forming and picking||2 per week depending on rainfall|
|Beets||Before soil gets bone-dry||1 at early stage; 2 every 2 weeks|
|Broccoli||Don’t let soil dry out for 4 weeks after transplanting.||1 to 1 ½ per week|
|Brussels sprouts||Don’t let soil dry out for 4 weeks after transplanting.||1 to 1 ½ per week|
|Cabbage||Water frequently in dry weather for best crop||2 per week|
|Carrots||Before soil gets bone-dry||1 at early stage; 2 every 2 weeks as roots mature|
|Cauliflower||Water frequently for best crop.||2 per week|
|Celery||Water frequently for best crop.||2 per week|
|Corn||When tassels form and when cobs swell||2 at important stages (left)|
|Cucumbers||Water frequently for best crop.||1 per week|
|Lettuce/Spinach||Water frequently for best crop.||2 per week|
|Onions||In dry weather, water in early stage to get plants going.||½ to 1 per week if soil is very dry|
|Parsnips||Before soil gets bone-dry||1 per week in early stages|
|Peas||When flowers form and during pod-forming and picking||2 per week|
|Potatoes||When the size of marbles||2 per week|
|Squash||Water frequently for best crop.||1 per week|
|Tomatoes||For 3 to 4 weeks after transplanting and when flowers and fruit form||1 gallon twice a week or more|
|Needs a lot of water during dry spells.||Needs water at critical stages of development.||Does not need frequent watering.|
For more on watering the garden, especially in drought, click to read our article on “The Water-Wise Garden.”