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When to Water Vegetables

How Much Water is Enough?

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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 mistakes 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 1/2 per week
Brussels sprouts Don't let soil dry out for 4 weeks after transplanting. 1 to 1 1/2 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. 1/2 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."

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Comments

Great tips! Sometimes when

By Bruce Hage

Great tips!

Sometimes when you suffer from high water bills or dead grass, you might have a problem with your irrigation system. In the long run, installing the right irrigation system saves water and provides a healthy & beautiful landscape for your property :)

Is the "number of gallons per

By dlogic

Is the "number of gallons per week" column meant to list how many gallons per individual plant, or a 5-foot row like the "critical time..." column?

The number of gallons per

By Almanac Staff

The number of gallons per week is for the 5-foot row, not the individual plants.

I am working on an article

By Peter Coppola

I am working on an article that correlates plant water consumption and the one-inch of water per week rule of thumb. Runoff, percolation, transpiration, evaporation; plant spacing and that elusive well drained water retaining soil; it should all come together from the “Water Needed” column.

Used to garden big time in

By Lee K

Used to garden big time in Bakersfield, CA: SUN & FREE WATER!! Now I'm in Sacramento with a water meter and I'm at a loss as to how to afford the water. . .

Just dig your own water well.

By Jackie Hopson

Just dig your own water well. There are many websites with instructions on how to do thiis on your own, and on a low budget, I adapted the methods I saw to work at high elevation in North Texas. About $50 in PVC and another $30 added to the water bill I was able to use water pressure to dig a hole in the ground to the water table. Of course I had many problems, the you may not encounter as your a few hundred feet closer to sea level, I had to find the saturation zone, provided by lakes and rivers, you will find the saturation zone more shallow as the ocean is closer and helping bring the saturation level up.

Your best bet is to build a

By Robert Leavitt

Your best bet is to build a "reservoir" that will capture rain water. Build it up high, with a valve at the bottom, so that gravity can feed it for you. Otherwise you will need a pump to get it out. You can find out more about doing this online. You can really use this to save HUGE on water bills. Thank God I have a pump and a well where I live. Still pay for electricity though!

Robert Leavitt
leaveittoleavitt
Gardening on a shoestring budget

I live in Phoenix,Arizona and

By suuuperbad

I live in Phoenix,Arizona and recently planted a tomato, cucumber and a squash plant that i bought from a nursery into a Topsey Turvey. The plants seemed to be fine and were staying green. It's late May and I have noticed that the cucumber leaves are drying out. I water my plants every other day. I noticed last night that my squash leaves are starting to yellow a bit and drying as well!

Many readers enjoy the

By Almanac Staff

Many readers enjoy the benefits that come with a Topsy Turvey but it also comes with some other challenges; namely, the hangers heat up and dry out quickly, causing the soil to be become hard and compacted. It's important to monitor closely so that they soil doesn't dry out. You also might want to beef up the soil with peat moss and humus and give them a fertilizer spike.

Michael we live in Zone 9,

By Agree with Michael

Michael we live in Zone 9, when we reach the months of 90s to 100's ---like you we water multiple times a day--like a patient in the hospital, when every the drip bags are dry.

If my tomato container plants

By PamMa

If my tomato container plants are turning yellow ... Too much water?

Good guess. Usually yellowing

By Alexander

Good guess. Usually yellowing leaves are due to overwatering, especially in containers, and especially if your soil has poor drainage. Also, watering leaches nutrients so make sure you keep feeding a container plant.

We live in North Western

By Sam Almer

We live in North Western Montana and have a greenhouse as well as an outdoor garden. So, in the greenhouse all our garden is in pots, how much water is needed and how often? It seems we are watering daily!

I water my garden in pots

By Michelle H

I water my garden in pots twice a day, and on really hot days, 3 times per day.. doesnt take long for the pots to go dry.

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