Gardening Articles: Care :: Soil, Water, & Fertilizer
by National Gardening Association Editors
Because watering is so important, the following fundamentals should be helpful in producing a more abundant pea crop.
If the soil is dry, water after planting your seeds. If you water before planting, the soil packs down too firmly.
An inch of water a week ensures good growth, whether vegetables are grown in single or wide rows. The amount of rain that falls during the week affects how much you should water your garden.
To determine how long it takes to water a certain section of your garden with a sprinkler, use a rain gauge or put a straight-sided can in the garden near a plant. Turn on the sprinkler and check the time. When there's an inch of water in the can, check the time again. Now you know how long it takes to supply your garden with one inch of water.
To determine the amount of rainfall, place a can or rain gauge in your garden and check it after every rain. Add up the amount to see if it totals an inch each week. If not, you'll need to water.
When To Water
Water early in the day. This gives the plants plenty of time to dry before night falls, which discourages the spread of disease organisms.
Avoid frequent, light waterings. When you water, soak the soil to a depth of three to six inches. By watering deeply, your plants will survive hot, dry weather, How do you know how deeply the water has gone? Dig down and feel.
Soil type affects the amount of water needed for good growth. Sandy soils, in general, drain much faster than heavy clay soils.
Don't water for the sake of watering. Just because your plants look wilted on a hot afternoon, doesn't mean they need watering; they'll probably perk up overnight. You may find the top of the soil is bone dry but that it becomes moist as you dig deeper. However, if plants look wilted in the early morning, they probably do need to be watered. The best way to check your soil's moisture is by digging down three to four inches into the soil. If the soil feels dry at that depth, water.
Soil can hold only so much water, so don't waste the precious liquid by smothering the plants' roots. However, if you've been without rain for a while, it's a good idea to water.