raised kitchen gardens
Published May 28, 2021 by Nicole Burke

The Best Way to Water a Raised Bed

Filed Under:
how to water your garden
drip irrigation
The best time to water your raised garden bed is in the morning.

Picture this: The sun is high overhead, and you’re gazing out your kitchen window to admire your garden when you discover the leaves of your tomato plant wilting in the heat. While it might be tempting to rush outside and pull out the hose, watering your plants in the middle of the day could cause more harm than good. 

Each water droplet left behind on your plants acts like a miniature magnifying glass, meaning the sun could scorch your wet leaves. That’s why the middle of the day is actually the worst time to water your plants. 

The best thing to do would be to wait and then water your garden thoroughly the next morning. Your plants are resilient and will make a comeback once their thirst has been quenched. 

The best time to water your raised garden bed is in the morning.

The Ideal Time of Day to Water

The best time to water your garden will almost always be the early morning when your plants are nice and rested. Overnight, they restore their energy and grab nutrients from the soil, and the morning is when they prepare for their day of growing ahead. By getting water to them at dawn, you can help them take full advantage of sunlight. 

While you can water at dusk, you don’t want your garden to be wet at night, when most pests show up to attack your plants. 

If you have a plant that’s showing stress, you can always come out in the evening and just water around that plant, not the entire garden.

The best time to water your raised garden bed is in the morning.

The Ideal Way to Water

I wake up early and use a watering can or hose to soak the soil of my raised beds. If you have drip irrigation or low-spray sprinkler heads installed, you might set your timer to water before you even wake up, around 4 or 5 a.m. 

Avoid spraying the leaves of your plants, and water as close to the soil level as possible so that the water can be absorbed by the roots. I lift the leaves of my big leafy greens out of the way so I can water right at the base of each plant. This is one of the reasons why we recommend drip irrigation for most of our clients. 

The best time to water your raised garden bed is in the morning.

The Ideal Amount to Water

The general rule of thumb is that most gardens need an inch of water per week, but it really depends on a number of factors unique to your setting and can even vary from day to day. 

One factor is how quickly water evaporates in your atmosphere. The evaporation rate varies from climate to climate. My garden in warm, muggy Houston stayed moist way longer between waterings than my garden up here in Chicago does. The air has been really dry here lately, so I’ve noticed my topsoil is already dried out by noon when I just watered that morning. Even when you’ve recently had some rain, check your soil to see what the evaporation rate is doing to your garden. 

Other important factors include what type of plants you’re growing and which growing season you’re in. In the cool season, for example, constant moisture is vital to your leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, and kale. Lettuce seedlings especially have shallow root systems that don’t hold moisture very well, so they need to be watered frequently to grow. If you let your garden dry out, your seeds may not germinate or your seedlings may not thrive. 

When my garden is packed in the warm season, I actually don’t need to water as much. My plants shade the surface of the bed, so even though it’s warmer, the garden locks in moisture for longer and prevents evaporation. 

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Additional Resources

In its fourth printing already, Kitchen Garden Revival will give you all you need to set up and grow in a raised bed kitchen garden. My other writings are available in eBook format only here in the Gardenary shop.

So, my friends, those are the basics of giving your plants the vital resource they need to flourish and provide you with lots of delicious returns. Check out the many resources we offer at Gardenary to help you keep on growing!