How Much Water is Enough?


Water, water everywhere. Make sure your plants get some!!

All plants need water to live and grow. Water helps plants to stand up tall. It helps plants move nutrients through the stems and leaves and helps to keep the plant cool. Some plants need more water than others do. For the kind of plants you will be growing in your garden, you can almost be certain that you will need to add water.

wooden ruler
How Much Water?

Most gardens like to have about one inch of rain every week. Some weeks you may get a lot more than one inch and some weeks you get way less. For the weeks when it is dry, you will need to water your garden. Also, keep in mind that clay soils dry out slower, needing less frequent watering than sandy soils that dry out fast and need to be watered more often.

A Fun Tip

To find out how much rain your garden gets in a week, make a rain gauge. Take a clean soup can with the top cut off. Put the can out in the middle of your garden. After each rain or watering, use a ruler to measure how deep the water is in the can. If the water you measure adds up to one inch or more for the week, your garden is okay. If not, you'll need to water to make up the difference. Record the amount of rain each week in your journal.

Rules for Watering

  • A slow, thorough, deep watering is better than a light sprinkling. Allow the soil to get nice and moist so you encourage roots to go deep.
  • Water your garden early in the day so plants dry off before it gets dark. This helps prevent disease.
  • Use mulch. It conserves the water in the soil and you won't have to water as often. More about mulch later.

There are a number of things to use to water the garden. A hand sprinkler is good, but you need to stand by the garden for a while in order to do a good job. If you get bored or impatient you may not do a good job.


Lawn sprinklers or soaker hoses are great, because they add water to the garden very slowly for a nice, deep soaking. And best of all, you can set the sprinkler and go have a lemonade while the garden gets watered.

plastic bottle with red lid
Try a Fun Watering Trick

Here's a fun gardening water trick.

Start with a clean, 2-liter plastic bottle.

  • Screw the cap on and turn it upside down.
  • Cut a hole in the bottom of the bottle about the size of a golf ball.
  • Fill the bottle with water and start to loosen the cap so water just starts to drip out slowly.
  • Dig a small hole next to the stem of plants like tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, squash, cabbage and melons. Make it big enough so you can put the cap end of the bottle into it and have the bottle stand up.
  • As water slowly drips out of the cap end, the soil in the root area of the plant gets wet and your plant is getting watered.
  • Refill the bottle each time it runs out. This is a great water conservation practice because it puts water where it's needed and not in spaces between rows where it goes to waste.