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How much water is right for your garden?

When it comes to having a garden full of lush fruits and veggies, water is right up there with things you really need. The trouble is…too many people have different opinions on how much water is the right amount. Even worse, nobody really has the exact same growing conditions so how can someone tell you what is going to work for you?

Here is what we do know…

The average garden needs a minimum of two inches of water per week in a perfect growing situation. Here is the bad news…

If you have sandy soil, you need more water because the moisture isn’t held by the grains of sand for the plants to use throughout the day.

If you have clay soil, you need less water because the clay doesn’t provide great drainage and more of the moisture is absorbed by the soil.

If you are growing in clay pots, you need more because the clay pots absorb the water and dry out the potting mix faster.

If you are growing in shade, you need less water than if you are growing in the full sun because not only does the sun dry out the soil, more light means the plant is expending more energy to grow bigger.

Studies show that more water usually makes bigger vegetables, but that isn’t always a good thing. Water dilutes the natural sugars in several vegetables like beets and too much of it can cause fruiting vegetables like carrots and tomatoes to split open.

So how do you judge what you need? Here are the signs you need to watch out for…
• Make sure to get your plants water at least three times per week
• Test the soil at least 1” below the surface, if this is dry…then its time to water
• If the leaves of the plant look limp and droopy…its time to water
• If the ground or top of the pot is cracked, it is time to water

Watering myths
• Never water your plants when it is sunny outside because the water droplets work like a magnifying glass and scorch the leaves
o Totally false. Your plants are naturally designed to do just fine with wet leaves in the full sun. Water them when they need it.

• Always water your plants from below the leaves of the plant
o Experts have always said to water from below to prevent mildews and fungal growth. New studies show that sometimes the plants need a little moisture on the leaves to help remove dust and buildup. Just make sure that you soak both the leaves AND the soil to ensure water is getting to the roots.

-Landscape designer Carson Arthur is host of HGTV’s new Home to Win show. He is also the outdoor expert with City TV’s Cityline and wrote the sell-out book Garden Designs for Outdoor Living in 2015. More at
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  1. Emily says:

    Wow! More increases. I would think this would be headline news. How can this continue to happen and placed upon the working poor?

  2. Gary says:

    2 inches of water in the garden a week you say. Has everyone seen the water & sewer rate increases every year for 5 years coming to Committee of the Whole this Thursday? We must be near the highest in all of Canada. Unsustainable.

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