Watering Greens Crops
by National Gardening Association Editors
You can't beat greens that are crisp and succulent. One of the most important things for highest-quality greens is a steady supply of moisture.
How Much to Water
Greens thrive in moist, but not wet, soil. They require about an inch of rain or irrigation water per week, and perhaps a little more for summer greens in hot weather.
If the water supply drops, greens may be the first crops in the garden to show signs of drought. That's because many of them - especially lettuce - have limited root systems; and because their large green leaves give off quite a lot of moisture. Sometimes on a hot, sunny afternoon many garden plants appear wilted. That's normal; usually they'll recover by next morning. If they don't, it's time to water.
Here are some tips to help you water wisely:
* Irrigate early in the day to cut down on evaporation losses and to make your water go further. This also gives the plants plenty of time to dry out during the day. (Wet foliage overnight allows disease organisms to spread rapidly among plants.)
* Soak the soil thoroughly enough that you don't have to come back and water again the following day. Try to moisten the soil to a depth of five or six inches, at least.
* If the soil is dry at planting time, water as gently as you can after planting, so you don't wash out any seeds. Be sure to keep the seedbed moist until the plants come up.
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