toad38350
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How Much Watering Does a Vegetable Garden Need?

With some help from my dad I was able to build a 4x8 raised garden bed. I have never planted a garden before but I have 2 children under 3 years old and thought this would be a great summer project for us. I have had houseplants before but never vegetables. I planted tomatoes, green peppers, red peppers, lettuce, cilantro, red onions and green beans. Here is my really stupid question........how will I know when to water the garden or when rainwater is enough???

If anyone has a really dummied down answer or can suggest some simple way that I can tell if my garden needs water I would be very appreciative. My mom has had gardens and alll she can tell me is "you will know when to water" well, I don't. HELP!!!

Thanks

toad38350
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here is a photo

here is a photo of the garden.......
[img]https://c2.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images02/69/l_7e4097ba6b8c41e6be5dc58b6554ad71.jpg[/img]

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hendi_alex
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Location: Central Sand Hills South Carolina

That is quite an assortment for a single 4 x 8 bed. One thing that you want to pay attention to is grouping plants of similar water needs. Your tomato could be wilting at the same time that the cilantro is perfectly happy. In general, here in S.C. I have to water my raised beds which are not in contact with the gound, once per day during spring and early summer and twice per day during the hotter parts of the summer. At this point the beds are only abut 6-8 inches deep and do not retain a lot of water. The easiest test for me is to simply observe the plants. If they begin to droop ever so slightly, then it is time to give a good soaking. Your exact schedule will vary with temperature and humidity, depth of the bed, soil composition of the bed. But listen to your plants, they will tell you. For sure, it is better to err on the conservative side of watering. Your question is certainly not stupid, as overwatering probably kills more plants than any other singe mistake. It can be very easy to love a plant to death. You may want to consider setting up drip irrigation for your bed. That with a timer makes watering very easy, and the drip irrigation when set to a trickle makes it almost impossible to overwater when cycled on a time or two per day.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

tfoals
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Location: Southern Illinois

Oh the plants that I have loved to death. There are so many. :cry:
Patiently they wait and hope, and God provides the rest. All we really need is The Faith Of A Little Seed

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pharmerphil
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Location: Minnesota

my best advice, and what I have done for many, many years is this...
When you water a section, the soil becomes "shiny"
water all areas till they are "shiny" 3 times, this gives you a good dose of water...
I water about 100 sq. ft at a time, till it's shiny, then the area next to it, then back, to the first..each area gets shined 3 times.
done this for almost 40 years, never had a lost crop or unproductive garden

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Gary350
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Location: TN. 50 years of gardening experience.

I think you will need to water every day, just make sure the raised bed stays moist until the roots are able to grow through the raised bed into the dirt below. Once the roots have reached the dirt you won't need to water much at all unless you live some place where is it extremely hot and no rain during the summer.

We had 6" of rain yesterday. My garden is under 2" of water. I don't think the beans and corn are going to make it I will probably have to replant. The tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, onion, garlic, carrots will be fine. It is still raining and we are suppose to get another 6" of rain tomorrow. I should have planted rice. LOL

tfoals
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Well yesterday dd had a dr apointment and we were late. I noticed the cover we had over the tiller blew off and it was going to rain. So I started running acrost the yard, hit the garden and sunk up to my knees in mud. Luckily nothings out yet, but I'm definatly considering rice.
Patiently they wait and hope, and God provides the rest. All we really need is The Faith Of A Little Seed

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jal_ut
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Lots of variables get in the act. Soil type, drainage below the bed,
your relative humidity, rains, wind, just to name some. A good watering once a week may be sufficient.

In some areas farmers raise corn and soybeans with no irrigation. In dry northern Utah you cannot raise a garden without irrigatrion. You have to water deeply once a week. So your situation is unique and you will just have to judge by how quickly your soil dries out.

If you notice your plants wilting, you will know they need water. The soil does not need to be soggy wet, but it needs to be damp.

Have a great gardening experience.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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Pebbles
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Location: Lancashire UK

I too have a part of my garden where I could easily grow rice. Here is England, it rains most of the year. However, come summer, if we are lucky enough to experience summer and it doesn't rain for 4 to6 weeks, we are on a hose pipe ban. Doesn't seem to add up to me. What do the authorities do with all our rain water? Beats me!

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hendi_alex
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Location: Central Sand Hills South Carolina

In Belize and in many carribean islands most every house has a cistern. Water is channeled from the roof and stored in a tank, either above or below ground. My friend in Belize stores almost 5000 gallons that has to last through the dry season. With water shortages in so many places now, I wouldn't be surprise to start seeing the use of cisterns increase in places with very seasonal rainfall.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

tfoals
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Location: Southern Illinois

I wouldnt mind a cistern. Our well water isn't drinkable so we have to buy our drinking water. Why wait for it to sink underground then use electricity to pump it back up anyways?
Patiently they wait and hope, and God provides the rest. All we really need is The Faith Of A Little Seed

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