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close this bookBio-Intensive Approach to Small-Scale Household Food Production (IIRR, 1993, 180 p.)
close this folderCrop management
View the documentCrop planning
View the documentUsing the fenceline for planting annual and perennial crops
View the documentCompanion plant guide chart
View the documentVegetables that can be harvested in less than a month
View the documentShade-tolerant vegetables
View the documentDrought-resistant vegetables
View the documentSolarization: A weed control technique using sunlight
View the documentWatering
View the documentMulching
View the documentThe role of organic mulches
View the documentSome tropical materials for use as mulch
View the documentGardening in dry environments
View the documentWater-saving ideas for gardens during dry season
View the documentGrowing vegetables in saline areas
View the documentLead in urban gardens


One of the most critical factors for successful gardening is water. Poor watering practices can stunt plant growth and can even be fatal to plants. As a rule, plants should be watered thoroughly but infrequently. Thorough watering dampens the soil. This allows the water to move down through the soil by progressively satisfying the waterholding capacity of every soil particle. Likewise, well-sequenced watering allows the water to sink slowly and the soil surface to dry up. These conditions encourage the development of a deep root system.

Well Sequenced Watering

Too Frequent Watering

Plants are deep-rooted and can withstand drought periods because they rely on subsoil water.

Plants are shallow-rooted and suffer with even a slight reduction in moisture availability; plants become dependent on applied water.

Note: This does not apply to young plants (i.e., less than 40 days old), which need daily watering in dry weather.