The first year of Meadowwood Garden I was consumed by this desire to have “perfect” garden conditions for my vegetable plants. Every day after setting out the transplants I diligently watered them. The transplants began to grow so I watered some more to give them an extra boost. Rain or shine, in sickness or health for the first three weeks I literally watered the garden every day.
About 3 weeks after transplanting some of the plants began to wilt. Figuring they weren’t getting enough water, I stepped up the watering program once again! But that didn’t seem to help — the plants wilted even more, leaves turned yellow and the whole garden was a soggy mess.
Photo By: timsamoff
Soon I came to my senses, did some research and found out that I was literally drowning my garden by severely overwatering. I cut back on the water, the plants all perked up and the first year of Meadowwood Garden turned out to be a resounding success.
If you are new to vegetable gardening you might be surprised that overwatering a garden is probably easier to do than underwatering it, as the story above illustrates. Watering a garden isn’t an exact science — it is something that yo get a feel for over time as you do it.
Signs That Your Garden is Overwatered:
Wilting plants — especially if they have yellow leaves probably mean too much water. (On the other hand, a wilted plant with brown leaves usually means not enough water.)
Dropped leaves — another sign of too much water, especially if they were drooping and/or yellow before they fell off the plant.
Rotting roots — Rotting or stunted roots usually indicate too much water.
Mold or algae around the base of the plants is a good indication of too much water.
Tips to Avoid Overwatering:
A good rule of thumb is that a garden needs one inch of water per week.
Feel the top of the soil before you water — if it is damp you don’t need to water.
Use a quality rain gauge or other measuring device to assist in measuring how much water your garden is getting.
Watch the plants for signs of overwatering and cut back immediately if you see them.