Water Deep! This will encourage deeper root growth = stronger healthier plants. Be sure to water the roots, not the leaves. The leaves don’t absorb the water. A soaker hose is an ideal way to keep the soil moist. Some of the benefits of the soaker hose is that it doesn’t spray on the leaves and the water doesn’t’ evaporate into the air. In order to know how much your soaker hose is putting-out you can put a saucer under a part of it and then check the amount that is in the saucer about every 30 minutes. You can place your soaker hose on top of your mulch or underneath the mulch. Depending on your weather, it isn’t necessary to water everyday but to water deeply. Remember vegetables generally need about 1” of water per week, this includes rain. The best time of day to water your plants is in the morning. It gives time for your foliage to dry before the evening. Watering later in the afternoon or early evening can encourage slugs and fungus.
I like to mulch between the rows of my garden to discourage weeds. I generally will put down newspaper, or cardboard and then cover with mulch. The cardboard or newspaper will decompose in the garden. It doesn’t last as long as plastic and will allow the soil to breath and be aerated by bugs. Black plastic wont’ deteriorate and does not allow soil to breath or encourage insects. Eventually it will need to be removed from the garden.
Ahhh! Weeding might be a dreadful task for a gardener but could also be a good stress reliever as it is much easier to pull our problems (weeds) out of the garden than the weeds that maybe in our lives, and so it can be satisfying to bring resolution to the garden by pulling weeds. Weeding is good for the garden but also makes the beds look nicer. Weeds will compete for soil moisture with your garden plants! Herbicide is not recommended because the spray may drip on your plants and it may persist in the soil which could affect the growth of your plants. Also, if you have self-seeding plants this may prevent the seeds from germinating. Hand weeding is the most ideal way to weed your garden but if you are overwhelmed by weeds and have a large garden a hoe is an ideal tool to speed up the process. Keep your hoe sharp and cut off weeds, just scuttle the surface, cutting weeds at the surface. If they are not deep rooted weeds this will kill them. You can also use a hoe to hill up soil around base of beans or other plants to help them stay standing, but be careful not to disturb the roots of the plant.
Some may ask: “What is a weed?” My answer is a weed is anything that you don’t want in your garden. Sometimes a prolific plant could take over a garden bed and it maybe a weed to you. For example, my daughter has Crocosmia (AKA Montbretia) in her garden which she enjoys the delicate flower that shows in the mid-summer but it is prolific and tends to take over whatever space it is placed in. It is also a perennial so it returns every year. So she has to weed out a lot of this to keep it from taking over the rest of the bed. These type of plants are best placed in a wide open space that you don’t mind it filling. It will need to be thinned and weeded. Some people have plants that are commonly known as weeds because they like them or they use them as a ground cover. So it is truly up to the gardener which are weeds. Take caution in weeding if you have seedlings coming up, until you are sure which are what you planted and which are weeds. What you planted is usually in a row, normally weeds are scattered.