Appropriate watering is extremely important to the health and beauty of your plants, especially in the heat of summer. At Estabrook's, we recommend deep waterings 2-3 times a week even when it rains. Although it might appear that your plants are getting plenty of water even in heavy rain storms, most plants will shed rainfall like an umbrella, leaving the root system dry.
The best time of day to water is in the early morning before the temperatures begin to rise. This gives the plants a good supply of water to face the heat of the day. Early morning also tends to be a time of lower winds and thus reduced evaporation.
If watering cannot be done in the early morning, very late afternoon is also satisfactory. It is important to water early enough so that the leaves have time to dry before nightfall to avoid development of fungal diseases. If possible, choose watering methods that will not wet the leaves (such as soaker hoses) and thus allow for late evening watering.
There may be need to evaluate the device used for watering. While a lawn sprinkler may be a good method for the lawn, it may not be the best way to water a vegetable garden. Pick a watering device that matches the needs of your garden and the time you have available to water. Once a device is selected, know the correct way to use that device, in order to water efficiently.
Soaker hoses have become a very popular method of watering since they allow the water to weep out gently over the entire length of the hose. This assures that the leaves are never wet, thus reducing the possibility of diseases and providing water right to the root system where it is needed. Just remember that soaker hoses must be left on for a length of time to water deeply. To make sure you're getting the saturation necessary, let your hose run for a while, then dig down with a trowel to see how deep the water went. If it is less than six inches, the hose needs to run longer.