Ask Kitty: new to the gardening experience

Dear Kitty,

I have my garden all planted but I am new to the gardening experience. Could I please get some advice about watering?

   Thank you, Newbie Gardener

   Dear Newbie Gardener,

First of all congratulations on joining the garden enthusiast life! The joy of growing your own food while enjoying the peace and solace of the garden has no equal.

I admire your dedication to learning how to care for your garden! Watering is one of the trickiest parts of gardening but can be figured out with some observation.

The number one key to watering is consistency. Your plants will struggle to achieve their best yield if they wilt and perk up over and over again. The number two key is not to overwater or underwater. I realize that sounds confusing but a few details will let you know- you are overwatering if the soil around the plant stem is always soggy. Moss may grow or mould on the soil if you continually overwater. If you underwater your soil will be dry and almost dusty. The leaves of your plants will brown and your plants may be stunted.

Watering also has other factors to keep an eye on. These factors include whether the temperature is high or overcast, or if it rained or was dry that day. All of these factors need to be considered.

It is also helpful to keep the soil around your plants loose. Loose soil can absorb the water and nutrients quickly. If your soil dries out too quickly put an inch or two of mulch on the soil around your plants to retain moisture. If your soil seems to stay wet too long gently loosen the soil around your plants and add some compost or peat moss to help with moisture absorption.

It may be helpful to keep notes on how long in between watering, and whether or not the soil stays dry or wet. Doing this for a few weeks will help you to see if you need to change your watering habits. Remember the most important thing to do when you water or doing anything in the garden – enjoy yourself! The details, nuances and confidence will come with time.

Happy Watering, Kitty.

Got a gardening question for Kitty? Email it to with Ask Kitty in the subject line and she will do her best to answer it.

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