You should water your plants depending on the type of plants you’re growing and the weather conditions in your area.

If you are doing indoor gardening in the southern portions of the United States, you should set your automatic watering or hydration system to deliver water and nutrients to your plants’ root system on a fairly regular basis.

Maybe you can set up times throughout the day that are specifically hot. Maybe noon and certain hours in the afternoon.

Also, it’s a very important to note the water requirements of the specific type of plant you’re growing. Some plants are notoriously water hungry. On the other hand, some plants can tolerate little watering or underwatering.

What is Worse, Overwatering or Underwatering?

Believe it or not, overwatering is actually harsher on your plants. The reason for this isn’t what you think.

When you overwater, in many cases, it looks like your plant is doing fine. You’re looking at the stems and the leaves and it seems that the plant is doing well. But what you’re not seeing is the fact that your plants are actually drowning because its roots are not getting enough oxygen and nutrients from the soil. How can it? Its roots are surrounded by too much water.

You have to understand that plants respire. They take in gas from the roots.

On top of this, when you overwater, there’s a strong chance that the growing medium or the soil will become too moist and this would lead to fungal growth. Don’t be surprised when your plants start developing splotches on its stems and leaves, or its roots start to rot.

The Dangers of Underwatering

The threat of underwatering plants is actually quite obvious. When you don’t give your plants enough water, your plants’ leaves seem to shrivel up. In the case of basil, for example, it would seem like the leaves have wilted.

The good news about underwatering is that it’s very easy to notice compared to overwatering. You just need to add moisture to your growing medium to correct the problem.

Another good thing about underwatering is that it’s fairly easy to detect because the soil or the growing medium will dry out from the top first. It doesn’t dry out from the bottom. It dries from the top, so this gives you enough of a visual cue that there’s something wrong.

How Do You Know When You’ve Given Your Plants Enough Moisture?

It all boils down to the average temperature of the part of the country where you’re from. It also depends on what medium you’re using to grow your plants.

Some medium can absorb a lot of moisture and remain dry enough so as not to choke your plants’ roots. Other media can do this only for so long until they can’t absorb any additional moisture. So, it really depends on what media you’re using.

It also depends on when you water during the day. If you’re watering near nighttime, it’s going to be different than if you were watering in the middle of the afternoon where it’s very hot.

Know Your Soil

Water needs to go at least six inches deep into the soil so that your veggies can grow longer roots that can anchor them more securely. It will make them more resilient to hot and dry weather conditions. However, you don’t want the water to filter right through because the soil is too porous. It’s a common issue with sandy soil.  Clay, on the other hand, can retain the water much better. That’s why it’s also necessary to determine what type of soil you have.

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As you can imagine, watering the plants on porous soil would take longer until you’re able to meet their needs, while you can water those grown on clay a lot quicker. It’s better to water your plants deeply at least three times a week rather than to give them a brief but shallow daily watering.

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Another good idea is to have your soil tested to determine its texture and how much nutrients it contains. For a small fee, you’ll know more accurately the amount of water and fertilizer you need.  If your soil is already nutrient-rich, adding compost may be unnecessary, and it can save you a lot of money in the long run. 

When is the Best Time to Water Vegetables?

You will waste more water to evaporation if you wait until the heat of the sun has already set in. The best time to do it is early in the morning. While you can water your veggies late in the day or even at night, they won’t dry as quickly and can succumb to fungal infection or other diseases.

Drip Irrigation

While watering each plant by hand with a hose or can isn’t detrimental to them, it can be too time-consuming and tedious.  Drip irrigation makes it significantly easier to water your veggies all at once. It will allow you to control more precisely the amount of water that your plants get. The chances of overwatering or underwatering them will be significantly reduced, not to mention the daily effort needed when doing it manually.

Some Things to Avoid

Using a sprinkler system isn’t recommended at all. It can’t distribute water evenly, and some plants would end up getting more water than the others. The result is more water wasted. If some plants get too inundated, it will result in overwatering. They’ll also be prone to bacterial and fungal diseases, which can end up affecting the entire crop.  Some gardeners love to mist their plants, not realizing that it’s a terrible practice that can also cause infection.

The Final Word

It’s crucial to pay close attention to your growing medium as well as the overall temperature of your garden to get your water input levels just right. It takes quite a bit of experimentation. You have to pay close attention to the effects on your plants so you can fine tune your watering and maximize growth.