Watering Fruit and Vegetables
As with any other crop, fruit and vegetables need a regular supply of moisture to produce good crops.
The need for manual watering can be substantially reduced during summer, if the soil is pre-prepared the previous autumn/winter with the addition of humus in the form of farm yard manure, or home made compost.
- Excavate Trench ( Pic 1)
- Fill excavated trench with organic matter ( Pic 2 )
- Excavate succeeding trench and cover organic matter with exacavated material ( Pic 3 )
- Bed prepared and ready for plants. ( Pic 4 )
An exception can be on light or thin soils, where the use of mulches can reduce evaporation.
After planting mulch the area/s with a thick layer of mulching material such as farm yard manure, home made compost, spent mushroom compost or shredded tree/shrubs.
This mulch will conserve moisture and keep weeds at bay, thus reducing the competition for available moisture and nutrients.
If manual watering is required, then a hose fitted with a multi- spray head is generally the best method, although it might be worth considering a seep / leaking hose for permanent beds of currants, raspberries and strawberries.
Multi-spray Hose Attachment
Section of Seep / Leaking Hose
Watering vegetables every 10-14 days should be sufficient for them to cope providing they get a good soaking at each of these occasions.
If sowing seeds give the drill a good soaking prior to sowing.
Similarly when planting seedlings flood the planting hole prior to placing the plant in the hole, this will ensure that there is moisture at the point where it is needed most.
Soaked Drill prior to Sowing
Vegetables may need extra watering at the time when they are at their peak of development e.g. ripening or swelling.
- Crops such as legumes respond best to additional watering at flowering time.
- Watering Potatoes at flowering time will greatly increase the numbers of tubers and subsequent watering in dry spells will boost tuber size.
Apply the water along the drill / furrow rather than over the foliage as a precautioary measure against Blight.
Wet foliage is a magnet for blight spores!
- Root crops and alliums (onions) are less reliant on additional water so it is not essential to give them additional water.
- Leafy crops such as lettuces and cabbages ideally need a constant supply of water throughout their growth.
Where this is not possible, give them a good soaking 14-21 days before their intended harvest.