How to Water a Veggie Garden


A healthy and productive veggie garden requires plenty of sunshine and proper watering. Healthy soil that drains well and is rich in organic matter ensures that your irrigation practices aren't in vain. Too much water causes the roots of the plants to drown as they cannot take in nutrients or oxygen from the soil properly. Under-watering leads to weak, stunted plants that are more prone to disease and death. Most vegetables have similar water requirements, but always check the plant label or seed packet to verify the irrigation needs.

Step 1

Check the soil moisture before irrigating. Water only when the top 1 inch of soil begins to feel dry. In most gardens, once-weekly watering is sufficient, but if you have sandy soil or daytime temperatures are high you may need to water more frequently.

Step 2

Water at the base of the plants using a watering can or hose. Provide enough water to moisten the top 6 inches of soil. Avoid wetting the foliage as much as possible, as wet foliage can lead to disease.

Step 3

Water in the morning so the soil has time to absorb the moisture before the heat of the day. Morning irrigation also ensures the foliage dries before temperatures cool at night.

Step 4

Spread a 2-inch layer of organic mulch, such as wood chips, over the vegetable bed after the soil warms in spring. Alternately, install a sheet of black plastic mulch prior to planting. Mulch preserves the moisture in the soil between each irrigation, allowing you to use less water.

Tips and Warnings

  • Too little water or drought stress at the time of fruit set on veggie plants may cause the vegetables to become malformed or to drop off.

Things You'll Need

  • Watering can or hose
  • Mulch


  • Clemson Cooperative Extension: Watering the Vegetable Garden
  • Oregon State University Extension: Conserving Water in the Garden
Keywords: watering veggie gardens, irrigating vegetable plants, garden watering practices

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.