Here are some of our top tips to being a responsible water user in your vegetable garden!
Time Your Watering
Proper watering is crucial for maintaining a thriving vegetable garden and knowing when to water is essential to ensure that plants receive adequate moisture without risking overwatering or underwatering.
It is generally best to water vegetable gardens in the early morning, as this allows plants to absorb water before the heat of the day sets in. However, it is important to monitor the soil moisture regularly and adjust watering frequency based on the specific needs of your plants – in the heat of summer you will probably have to water in the evening too, to help your plants recover.
Watering at the right time:
- Minimises evaporation.
- Gives plants ample time to dry off before nightfall.
- Reduces the risk of fungal diseases.
- Ensures that water reaches the plants’ roots.
Mulching is a gardening technique that involves spreading a layer of organic or inorganic material on the soil’s surface – there should be no bare soil visible at all. In the veggie garden we recommend always using an organic mulch, such as straw, grass clippings, compost, wood chips or leaves, as it helps to improve the soil and doesn’t add anything harmful to the soil (and therefore to your food).
This protective covering serves multiple purposes, including:
- Regulating soil temperature.
- Adding organic matter to the garden.
- Suppressing weed growth.
- Conserving moisture.
Grouping plants according to their water use, known as hydrozoning, is a smart and efficient approach in gardening that can help conserve water and it is particularly effective in the edible garden. By strategically arranging your herbs or veggies with similar water requirements (high, moderate, low and very low water usage) together, gardeners can ensure that each group receives the appropriate amount of water without wasting resources.
You don’t have to use litres of water to make your garden beautiful. Here are some smart techniques for responsible water usage.
In The Hydrozone
Hydrozones are a game-changer when it comes to efficient gardening. By grouping plants based on their water requirements, we can tailor our watering practices to meet their specific needs. Whether in garden beds or containers, arranging plants with similar water needs together allows us to provide adequate hydration without wasting resources. For instance, high-water-usage plants can be placed in one hydrozone, while those with low water requirements can form another group.
This arrangement offers numerous benefits:
- Optimises water usage.
- Promotes healthy growth.
- Minimises water stress on plants.
Improve Your Soil
Plant health starts with soil health, and good soil also helps to save water. Prep your soil well before planting by adding organic matter in the form of compost or rotted manure, as well as bone meal or superphosphate for strong roots, and a slow-release organic fertiliser. Vermiculite is also a good option if you need to increase soil’s water-holding capacity.
By doing this you will:
- Create strong roots for more efficient water absorption.
- Reduce water runoff.
- Increase water-holding capacity.
- Grow healthier plants.
Water At The Right Time
We all know that we need to water our gardens, but many of us choose to water at the wrong times. By understanding the best times to water, we can ensure our plants’ wellbeing while minimising water wastage.
It is generally recommended to water gardens in the early morning to allow plants to absorb moisture before the heat of the day sets in. However, it’s essential to monitor soil moisture regularly and adjust watering frequency based on specific plant needs. During hot summer months, additional watering in the evening might be necessary to help your plants recover overnight.