When should you water your garden? In the morning or the evening?
There is absolutely no reason why you can’t do the watering in the evening – especially if that’s the best time for you to fit it in with all of life’s other commitments. It’s better to do it then than not at all. But just think for a second….……What comes out at night and is attracted to damp conditions?
These fellas – party molluscs!!
And what have you just provided for them when you water in the evening?
Their favourite conditions for partying.
So, the absolutely best time to water your plants is first thing in the morning. It’s okay, I’m not necessarily talking about before the birds get up. Water them at a time that allows for them to drink in the transparent nectar before the sun is strong enough to cause evaporation.
The art of watering
I really do think that watering is an art more than a science. You have to learn how to judge when your plants need your help in accessing water. If you’ve just experienced a week of torrential rain then you clearly don’t need to run outside and get the sprinkler going!
It actually takes a lot of hot weather to take the moisture out of deep soil but soil near the surface dries out pretty quickly. So, if your plants are newly sown seeds, young seedlings/plantlets with shallow roots OR adult plants with shallow roots, such as salad leaves, then they will be more at risk of becoming dehydrated in dry weather. In particularly hot and dry weather you may find that you need to water your shallow rooted plants every day. In cooler weather it may only be once a week.
Younger plants have a shallow root system. In dry and hot weather, they will need to be watered more often than mature plants whose roots systems are deeper.
Raised beds drain freely and don’t get waterlogged so in this instance, it’s very hard to overwater.
You may look at the growing area of your more deeply rooted vegetables, such as kale, and think it’s dry. But before you water, dig down or poke your finger in about 5cm (2in). If it is still dry at that depth then yes, by all means go ahead and throw a few buckets on. A good soak once a week is best.
If we water our plants too often then they get lazy, they don’t have to send their roots out very far to find the moisture and so they develop a shallow root system. The more deeply rooted the plant is, the stronger it is and the more resilient it is against extreme weather, pests and disease.
Tip- remember your fruit bushes and trees. When grown in pots they will need watering (especially when the fruit is developing) possibly once a week in very dry weather. Fruit bushes and trees in the ground will be a little more self- sufficient and shouldn’t need a drink more than once a fortnight BUT give them a deluge! Consider them (trees especially) as binge drinkers that like to go out and party on a Friday night.