Grow Regina pays for City Water from garden fees this is our largest yearly expense. Conserving water is always important because we want to keep our fees affordable.
So how much should you water?
That really depends on the rainfall, temperature, wind, even time of year so this is not a simple answer. The soil in Regina high in clay or gumbo therefore it holds water well. The surface can look dry and cracked but just below the surface the soil is still moist. That is why you have to really check to see if you need to water.
In the spring when seeds are germinating and transplanted plants are just getting established it is a good idea to keep the garden evenly moist. Lightly and frequently water until the plants get started.
After germination when the young plants are past the 2 leaf stage you want to encourage the plants grow a strong deep root system by letting the soil dry out a bit between watering.
An old rule of thumb states, 1″ of water once a week, but this varies depending on weather. You can check for dryness by sticking your finger into the soil about an inch if the soil is moist then it does not need water if it is dry water well.
Mulching around plants will hold in more moisture, weeding will keep down the competition for water. Breaking the clay “crust” around the plants helps the water get down to the roots.
Plants naturally droop when it is hot out even if there is water available. It is never a good idea to water at this time as it stresses the plants. Water preferably in the morning or in the evening.
After the plants have established a strong root system you may not need to water as much. Over-watering causes mildew on leaves, encourages slugs and causes poor root development all of which weakens the plant’s immune system against diseases and infestations.
Tomatoes are princesses in the garden they really do not like to dry out. Even watering is important while fruit is setting or they will get blossom end rot.
Just because the tomatoes need more frequent watering doesn’t mean the whole garden needs to be watered at the same time. Mulching helps tomatoes.