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How much is one inch of water a week?

Thursday, 14 Aug 08 Sunny 20°C / 68°F

Yesterday, I spent about 2-3 hours searching online about the plants in my garden and how much to water it. I realized that all of the plants required about 1 inch of water per week.

That was when I started my hunt on just exactly how much is 1 inch of water. First of all, why is it per week? Does this mean you only water once a week? How’s anyone going to know who much is 1 inch w/o some additional tools? Why can’t they say something like, 2-3 times a week for 15 minutes using medium water pressured hose or something.

Anyways, after much reading, I realized that I needed to mulch. Basically, it’s up for me to gauge how much water I need depending on weather, soil conditions, etc. This is why noone can tell you. But there are some tips you can use.

For example, 1 square foot = 0.62 gallons of water. Also, if the top 1 1/2 inch of soil is dry, then it’s time to water. To see if the soil is moist, you can grab a bunch in your hand, form it into a ball, if it falls apart, it’s too dry.

Another thing I learned was that it’s better to water deeply than to water every day. You want to make sure that the water goes down to all the roots, but not too much down because then the water will carry all the nutrients down into the ground. Important if you have a square foot garden.

So, I put the mulch in, and I’m thinking maybe every 2-3 days I"ll check and see how it goes. The good thing is that there are 2 squares w/o mulch so it will give me an idea of just how fast the soil is getting dry between the non-mulch square and mulched square.


  • cristyn

    cristyn wrote:

    One thing I’ve learned after going through similar research is that it’s not always true. It’s true for adult plants, but it’s not true for seedlings, who need much more water. No one tells you that; but seedlings’ll go and die if they only get watered once a week. I’m not quite sure yet now you taper it off to one inch at a time. They don’t tell you that either. And I haven’t had to put any tapering off scheme to the test, since it has rained every single day since I learned my lesson about seedlings dying if you water them deeply once a week instead of watering them more frequently.

    Posted on 14 Aug 08 (over 6 years ago)

  • rainymountain

    rainymountain wrote:

    How often you water will also depend on the type of soil you have, as well as temperatures, wind, rainfall, drainage and exposure to the sun. I don’t think my soil would stick together even when it is wet (though I admit I haven’t tried) as it is a light sandy soil overlying sand, grit and pebbles in most of my patch. I stick my finger into the soil about an inch and a half and see how dry it feels. It needs watering more frequently than clay and more loamy soils. Seedlings need more moisture near the surface because they haven’t developed a deep root system. Newly planted trees and shrubs also need frequent watering.

    Posted on 15 Aug 08 (over 6 years ago)

  • smurfett

    smurfett wrote:

    Hmm…what’s considered a seedling? Is that anything where it hasn’t reached its mature height?

    Posted on 15 Aug 08 (over 6 years ago)

  • xan

    xan wrote:

    Here’s a nice graphic from Wikipedia, but I think it’s kind of seat-of-the-pants. When it starts looking like a small version of the mature plant, it’s not a seedling anymore.

    Posted on 15 Aug 08 (over 6 years ago)

  • Katxena

    Katxena wrote:

    @Nax: my problem with that rule is that I often don’t know what the plants I’m growing are going to look like! :)

    My tapering off method was to extend the time between waterings and see if they collapsed. It has a certain empirical elegance to it, but it’s probably not that great for the plants.

    Posted on 15 Aug 08 (over 6 years ago)

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