How to Water Vegetable Plants


Most spring and summer vegetables thrive in soil that is kept evenly moist but not soggy. When the soil is too moist, the roots are prone to disease and may even drown as the abundance of water prevents them from absorbing nutrients and oxygen. Too little water leads to stress as the plants slowly die of thirst. Proper watering in the vegetable garden ensures the moisture gets deep enough in the soil to benefit the roots without providing more moisture than necessary.

Garden Vegetables

Step 1

Check the moisture level around the vegetable plants prior to irrigating. Stick your finger in the soil and water when the top 2 inches of soil feels dry. Generally, vegetables require one weekly watering unless it is hot and dry outside. Then they may require two to three waterings a week.

Step 2

Water at the base of each plant with a garden hose turned on at ¼ to ½ of full strength. Alternately, lay a drip irrigation hose down each vegetable row to provide a slow seepage of water.

Step 3

Provide 1 inch of water per plant in the garden at each irrigation. This moistens the vegetable bed to a depth of 6 inches if you stick your finger in the soil to feel it.

Step 4

Lay a 2 inch layer of mulch over the vegetable bed once the plants are at least 6-inches tall. Not only does mulching prevent weeds, it also preserves soil moisture between each irrigation.

Container Vegetables

Step 1

Stick your finger in the soil in the container each morning. Water when the top 1 inch of soil feels dry.

Step 2

Water the container from the top until the excess moisture begins draining from the bottom of the container. This ensures all the potting mix in the vegetable pot is evenly moist.

Step 3

Check the containers for moisture twice daily during hot, dry weather. Check in the morning and again in the afternoon two to three hours before sunset. Afternoon watering must be done while the sun is still out to dry any moisture on the leaves of the plants, otherwise they become prone to mold and mildew.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid wetting the foliage when you water. Certain plants, like beans, are especially prone to disease when wet.

Things You'll Need

  • Water hose
  • Drip hose
  • Mulch


  • North Carolina Cooperative Extension: Home Vegetable Gardening
Keywords: watering vegetable plants, vegetable garden irrigation, growing vegetables, watering your garden

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.