How to Keep Garden Plants Moist

Overview

Garden plants such as tomatoes, watermelons and some flowers like a lot of water and prefer not to dry out much in between waterings. These plants are the first to suffer if you must leave them, unwatered, as you go on a trip out of town, or if hot dry weather or poor soil conditions rob them of necessary moisture. You have many products/methods available for keeping garden plants moist. It's just a matter of choosing the best watering system and soil amendments (if necessary), and planning ahead.

Step 1

Add moisture-retaining additives to the soil, such as peat moss, if necessary. Sandy soil is especially prone to poor moisture retention.

Step 2

Give plants a good soaking in the morning, before temperatures have started to rise. This will help the soil stay moist longer--watering in the morning gives the plants time to absorb water before it evaporates. Watering in the late evening will do the same; however, too much moisture in the soil overnight can cause fungal diseases.

Step 3

Add mulch around the plants. You can use wood chips, straw, sphagnum moss, plastic mulch (available at garden supply stores) and other materials. Mulch keeps plants warmer and slows water evaporation from the soil.

Step 4

Use a soaker hose to water plants slowly. Unlike conventional garden hoses, soaker hoses contain small holes throughout their length. If you place these near your plants, water seeps into the soil at ground level, over time. These hoses can be especially helpful if you will be away from home for a day and your plants are very thirsty plants.

Tips and Warnings

  • Keeping plants too moist all the time can lead to root rot or fungal diseases, such as powdery mildew. Use the mulch appropriate for your plants. Wood mulch, for example, tends to acidify soil and you may not wish to use this on plants that prefer low acidity.

Things You'll Need

  • Plants
  • Peat moss (optional)
  • Water
  • Garden hose
  • Soaker hose
  • Mulch
  • Sprinkler timer (optional)

References

  • FlowerGardeningMadeEasy.com: Using Mulch on Flower Beds
  • CBSNews.com: Vacation Gardening Tips
  • GardeningKnowHow.com: Treating Root Rot
Keywords: watering plants, keep garden moist, keeping plants moist

About this Author

Corey M. Mackenzie is a professional freelance writer with knowledge and experience in many areas. Corey received a B.A. with honors from Wichita State University and has been a writer for over two decades. Corey specializes in pets, interior decorating, health care, gardening, fashion, relationships, home improvement and forensic science. Corey's articles have appeared in Garden Guides, Travels and other websites online.