The basic rules of watering. Don't let your plants dry out

It's no secret that plants require water to grow. Most gardeners are aware that it's best to water in the morning or evening with warm water. However, there are situations where this may not be possible. Therefore, we aim to provide you with guidance on the principles and rules of watering, helping you determine when and how to water your garden effectively, ensuring it benefits your plants rather than harming them.

Water temperature and quality

The water you use to irrigate your plants can come from any source. The crucial factor is that the water should be warm (at least 64-68°F or 18-20°C) and free of chlorine. To achieve this, you can let the water sit in dark containers, preferably black ones. This promotes quick warming and oxygenation of the water.

Watering method

Many plants are not fond of having water on their leaves. Water droplets can act as lenses in sunny weather and result in leaf burns, which is detrimental to the plant's health. 

Additionally, wetting the foliage can contribute to the spread of harmful fungal diseases such as phytophthora and powdery mildew. It is therefore recommended to water plants at the base, focusing on the root area.

Watering time

This point follows from the above rule: It is important to avoid watering in sunny weather. To prevent your plants from diseases caused by sunburn, it is recommended to water your plants in the morning or evening.

But if you don't have this option, you can also water your garden in cloudy weather. Moreover, in cooler weather, it is better to water your plants during the day or in the morning. The reason for this is that after evening watering, the water does not have enough time to be fully absorbed into the soil, creating high humidity that can lead to the activation of many dangerous diseases.

The main thing is to water at the base of the plants to avoid potential health problems.

Watering frequency

It is recommended to water plants less frequently but with greater volume. Superficial watering only saturates the top layer of soil without reaching the plant's roots, essentially benefiting only the growth of weeds. 

Insufficient watering leads to poor nutrient absorption and stunted growth in cultivated plants. Therefore, even if there has been a brief rainfall and the soil surface appears wet, ithis is not the reason to delay watering.

Watering volume

Plants often suffer not from a lack of moisture but rather from an excess. Therefore, moderation is key. Excessive watering leads to soil erosion and, as a result, increases soil acidity. Overwatered soil causes root rot, reduces access to oxygen and nutrients, and creates ideal conditions for the development of dangerous diseases.

To calculate the right volume of water for your plants, you can use the Watering Calculator feature. This tool is suitable for both container and outdoor plants. Simply provide all the requested data and specify the area occupied by your plant in the "pot's diameter" section.


Mulch is an important tool for moisture retention, but not only. To learn more about mulching you can read about it in a separate article.

Soil type

When watering, you need to consider what type of soil prevails on your plot. Heavy clay and loamy soils saturated with moisture slowly, but also retain it for a long time. Therefore, it is necessary to water such soil rarely, but abundantly. 

On the contrary, sandy soils require frequent, but not so abundant irrigation.

Determining soil moisture

To ensure the well-being of your plants, it is crucial to assess the moisture content of your soil. While various scientific methods exist, they may be impractical for the average gardener due to their complexity. Let's explore a simple method accessible to any amateur gardener.

One approach is to use a soil moisture sensor, which provides reliable moisture readings. However, this method requires installing a sensor for each plant, which can be inconvenient. Therefore, let's explore alternative ways to assess moisture levels without the need for additional devices.

To assess soil moisture, dig a shovel into the ground until it reaches a full depth, about the length of a bayonet. Take soil samples from a depth of 8 inches (20 cm), either from the shovel tip or the hole's bottom. Here's what to look for:
  • Powdery soil that crumbles and doesn't clump indicates dryness, requiring urgent and abundant watering.
  • Soil that forms a clump but crumbles when dropped from chest height on the shovel indicates moderate moisture. Water if necessary.
  • Soil that forms a clump without breaking when dropped and doesn't stick to your fingers indicates good moisture. Water only during dry weather.
  • If the soil forms a clump that sticks to your fingers, it indicates excellent moisture, and watering can be skipped for a week.
  • Soil that releases water when squeezed out of the clump is too wet. Avoid watering for at least two weeks.
By using these simple observations, you can determine the moisture level of your soil without the need for additional equipment.

What if you don't want to water at all

If you don't want to deal with watering your garden, there is a solution for that too. And its name is drip irrigation.

There are various types and models of drip irrigation available on the market. This is a fully automatic system, and when combined with mulching, it provides you with a completely self-sufficient garden that works for you, not against you.

Now, armed with this knowledge, you will be able to approach the watering of your garden and vegetable garden intelligently. Understanding the moisture levels of the soil and recognizing the signs of dryness or excess will help you determine the appropriate watering schedule. 
Whether you choose to water manually or opt for an automated drip irrigation system, you can ensure that your plants receive the right amount of water for optimal growth and health. By taking a proactive approach to watering, you can cultivate a thriving garden that will reward you with lush greenery, bountiful harvests and delightful flowers. So, go ahead and confidently care for your plants, knowing that you have the knowledge to provide them with the water they need.