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Watering vegetable garden in a drought

I water my vegetable garden as little as I can get away with commensurate with keeping things alive.  Obviously I water late at night, but am wondering if it is best to water the roots or just the leaves?  I am basically getting the plants to mark time until we get rain, if ever.


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,168
    Always water the soil around the roots ... not the leaves. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 17,282
    I use soaker hoses coiled around the plants when they are small. I then plug it in to give a good soak once a week in  dry weather.  Wetting the leaves is just inclined to spread fungal infections.
  • Watering a little and often is not the best way. A good soak is better once a week so that the roots go down rather than sideways which in the heat will die back very quickly.
  • I know that a good eoak once a week is the recommended way in normal 
  • Oops!  As I was saying, I know that a good soak once a week is the recommended way in normal dry times, but this is abnormal, not only dry but such excessive heat.  Some of the small young plants I fear won't make it whatever regime I follow.
  • GrannybeeGrannybee Posts: 328
    Many of my veg plants have succumbed to the intense heat.  Cucumbers died, runner beans were doing fine until the sun shrivelled all the little beans and the kale was singed by the sun. Otherwise, lettuce, courgettes, tomatoes, sweet corn and chard are doing well on a regime of a good soak every second day - I couldn't leave it for a week. Seems to work. 
  • raisingirlraisingirl Posts: 6,912
    edited August 2022
    Ideally, you'd water sub-soil - use a soaker hose under the surface so there is as little evaporation as possible. Combined with a good thick mulch, this would keep most plants happy. It's relatively difficult to arrange though, unless you really plan ahead. Dove's runner bean set up is a good short cut to the same outcome

    The alternative is permaculture, use perennial rather than annual veg (deeper roots) and ground cover plants to suppress evaporation (and weeds)
    “It's still magic even if you know how it's done.” 
  • TPWTPW Posts: 15
    I focus on the roots when watering my plants and usually wait till later on the evening when temperatures are "cooler".
  • nick615nick615 Posts: 1,468
    I use the walking stick dibber in the illustration to make 12 inch deep holes beside any plant I think needs water.  We've got into the habit of saving ALL water after washing up and preparing veg etc.  This is tipped into a watering can outside the back door, the contents of which is then gently poured into the aforesaid holes so that it arrives at the roots (where it's needed most), quickly drains into the soil and deprives any weeds of it.
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