There are many options for the home gardener when it comes to watering your vegetable garden. If you visit your local home center you are likely to find dozens of hoses and attachments.. some that you may have seen before but many that you have never used.
The way you deliver water will depend on the plants you are growing. Some vegetables like lettuce like a light rainfall of water while squash plants benefit by watering directly at the base of the plant were most of the roots are.
You can also install irrigation systems that will automatically water your plants with different types of adapters that regulate the pattern of the spray and the amount of water delivered.
If you have a small garden you can do all of your watering with a watering can.The benefit of a watering can is that you can also introduce fertilizer that dissolves in water and improve the growth of your plants or provide food that will go into the fruit.
Watering is most important at the beginning of the season when you are transplanting starter plants and starting seed. It is just as important at the time that your fruit begins to grow.
Plants that do not get enough water will yellow, wither and die but something that you may not realize is that they will also produce smaller fruit or restrict growth of fruit in the hot summer to preserve the rest of the plant.
Soaker hoses are another method to reduce the time you spend watering. A soaker hose is sealed on the end and will release water along its length. Although this solution is not perfect it can reduce the time you need to spend caring for your garden and a timer can be used to automate the watering during the day when you are not home.
How much water is too much water for your vegetables?
There may be days in the hot summer where you think you could water 24 hours a day but honestly the amount of water your plants need is probably much less then you apply.
In addition to wasting water which you will definitely notice on your water bill applying too much water to bare areas of your garden just asks weeds to grow.
Larger plants should be planted in mounds so you can water them directly. Normally even the largest zucchini plants will only have about a 10 inch root ball and smaller plants normally only extend roots about 1/2 of their height.
You should also be careful about splashing mud on your plants. Mud will limit the growth of the plant and may even cause bacteria to eat at the leaves. The amount of foliage needs to be proportional to the fruit you grow that means tomatoes, c antelope beans any type of vegetable that you harvest needs foliage to support the growth of the harvest.
Your soil should also dry out over night. Many people suggest that you only water in the morning but if you need to water in the evening you do not want to have standing water or you will promote root rot.