How to Water Vegetables for Better Taste

July 19, 2017

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Improve the flavor of tomatoes and other vegetables just by the way you water your garden. Here’s how.

How to Water for Better-Tasting Crops

Tweaking your watering can have a dramatic impact on the flavor of your crops. Soils rich in added organic matter are naturally more moisture-retentive. This minimizes the amount of added water the crops need, and keeps those all-important sugars from being diluted too much.

Watering Fruiting Crops

Peaches, cherries and other tree fruits, plus fruiting vegetables such as tomatoes and peppers have better flavor when not over-watered. Reducing irrigation just one week before fruits are picked can help enhance the flavor of these crops.

Container-grown fruits such as blueberries or strawberries can also benefit from this approach to watering.

Improving the Flavor of Tomatoes

Keep tomato plants well watered while they establish. Water heavily two to three times at week, depending on your weather, climate and soil conditions. Then, once you start to see fruits developing, reduce the volume of water you give your plants at each watering to a minimum. Don’t go so far as to allow plants to wilt though! Yields may be a little smaller, but the flavor is more intense.

Watering Root Crops

Carrots, beets and other root crops have improved taste levels in drier soils. As their roots reach deep into the soil looking for moisture, they will also source minerals that contribute to a better flavor. Water root crops regularly for the first three to four weeks after sowing or planting, then taper irrigation to a minimum.

Leafy Salads and Greens 

Treating leafy crops benefit to plenty of water helps to dilute very spicy or bitter tastes. You can tame the spicy flavor of leaves such as arugula by keeping them well-watered.

Keep other leafy salads and greens moist to encourage lots of succulent, leafy growth.

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Reader Comments

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My arugula has small pin holes in leaf yet do not see and bugs or insects? Any idea of cause?

arugula leaf pest

The holes are probably made by flea beetles. The only way to prevent them is to use row cover on spring plantings. The holes are somewhat unsightly but not harmful; the leaves are still edible. Just rinse/wash before eating. Note that flea beetles are less active in fall, if you would like consider growing it then (too).


I have cucumbers growing and they are huge but they are not getting dark green in color and I don't know why this is happening could it be I'm watering to much or not enough? last year I grew cucumbers and they were a nice dark green and normal size so I'm confused by the size and light green color this year, I just picked one and it was 16 inches long it's crazy!! can you tell me why this is happening?


Nice work . good job . THANKS.

I did notice that my 2016

I did notice that my 2016 black krim tomatoes had great flavor with less watering but they would often split open on the vine and I lost several due to this. Could that be due to less watering?

Watering Tomatoes

When tomatoes have experienced a dry spell and then suddenly receive a lot of water, this can cause the fruits to swell too quickly for the skins and they split. Watering more regularly should prevent this.


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