Properly prepared soil, rich in organic material conserves water and promotes healthy plant growth. Healthy plants develop deep roots and will grow better in the hot weather (left). A young cabbage plant that is lightly mulched with dried grass clippings (center). Shown are raised beds in the fall that are amended with compost and mulched for the winter. Check every three weeks during the off season and water if necessary. Come spring, pull back the mulch and you are ready to plant (right).
The gardener should plan on visiting the garden each day of the growing season. We think early morning is best. You can inspect the garden and check for any concerns. If the garden needs watering this is a great time to do it.
Some gardeners wait to come in the late afternoon only to find their plants under stress due to drought. Lettuce and broccoli once stressed turn bitter and stay bitter no matter how you tend them after that.
We recommend that you hand water your backyard garden. This allows you to water each plant carefully and use just the right amount of water that is needed.
The biggest problem we have seen is that gardens are allowed to dry out in the spring before planting. Once dry it is very hard to rehydrate the soil but you MUST before planting. Do this by gently spraying the top layer to just moisten it. Do not get it wet! Now gently work that moist top one inch layer into the top 10 to 12 inches of soil. If it needs more water repeat. NEVER get your soil wet or too damp during this process or your soil will clump. After it is thoroughly moisten down 10 inches or more you are now ready to plant.
Simple Watering Tips for a Successful Garden
NOTE: We don't recommend automatic sprinklers for our gardens. They water everything the same. Even when drip systems are used they tend not to do the same quality job as hand watering.