Now that summer has arrived, you might be looking forward to months of delicious homegrown veggies. But of course, you have to get those veggies to grow first, and hot, dry weather can pose a challenge to those of us with backyard gardens. Specifically, you might be wondering how often you need to water your garden.

The simple answer to that question is: However often it needs to be watered!

Unfortunately, nature doesn’t always run on a schedule the way we wish it would. It would be terrific to plant a garden and then let rainfall take care of the rest, but we live in a relatively dry climate. We can’t count on the weather to do the job for us.

You’ll know your garden needs water if you put your finger in the soil, and it feels dry. Yes, that means you need to check it every day. Luckily, that only takes a moment, and then you can water as needed.

One general rule is that gardens need one to two inches of water each week. In most cases, a deep watering every few days is preferred to shallow, frequent watering, but a number of factors will influence your garden’s particular needs.

For example, if your soil is sandy, it won’t hold as much water for a long period of time. In this case, more frequent irrigation will be needed. On the other hand, soil with a high clay content will hold water longer, allowing you to go longer between watering. If you mulched your garden, it will retain moisture much better.

The plants themselves also have varying needs. Young, recently transplanted ones need more frequent watering, and very large plants need more water. When the temperature reaches 85 degrees or higher, your plants might need daily irrigation to keep them healthy. Potted plants will nearly always need daily watering, because their soil dries out so quickly.

Still, it all goes back to that one simple rule: Stick your finger in the soil to test it. If it feels dry to the touch, then your garden needs water. Morning is the best time to irrigate, as less of the water will evaporate, but you can also water in the afternoon if you avoid wetting the leaves. Water at the base of your plants for best results.

In Southern California, it is best to have an automated irrigation system to ensure that vacations, sick family members and long work-weeks do not lead to a dead garden. Simply adjusting an irrigation clock is significantly less time consuming than using a hose or even a watering can.

As always, give us a call if you have questions about your landscaping project. We can offer expert advice to keep your lawn and garden healthy.

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