Caring for plants isn’t an exact science, but it does require some finesse. If you want to have a better harvest this year, try changing up your watering strategy. Vegetable gardens in particular need a lot of water to thrive and yield the best possible plants. These watering tips will help you take your garden to the next level.

Water Deep and (Not Too) Often

couple planting and watering seedlings in a gardenThe goal of watering your plants is to feed the root systems, so a light watering likely won’t be enough. A common rule of thumb is to water plants two to three times per week, but this varies based on the crops you’re growing. Be careful not to overwater, because that can cause just as much damage.

Use the Right Watering Tool

sprinkler spraying grassAll watering methods are not created equal.

If your veggie garden is small or in a container, then simple hand-watering or spraying should keep them healthy. If they’re fully integrated into the ground, try a sprinkler system, soaker hoses, or a drip irrigation system to better target needy, deep roots.

Keep the Ground Wet and the Leaves Dry

closeup of hand watering plant root while holding leaves to the sideWhile you should focus on keeping the ground damp, you should also try to keep your leaves dry. This means avoiding them at watering time.

If you’re using an automatic system, set it to water your plants in the morning so the leaves can dry throughout the day. Wet leaves contribute to many plant diseases.

Make the Most of Mulch

birds eye view of leaves freshly sprouted through a layer of mulchInclude mulch in your garden to help protect your plants from the elements. In the winter, mulch will help insulate roots from falling temperatures; in the summer, it provides your veggies with much-needed protection from the sun, which allows their roots to stay damp and the crops to stay healthy.

Again, watering isn’t an exact science. It really comes down to paying attention to your individual plants and their needs. With some TLC and a little luck, you’ll have the healthiest plants on the block in no time.