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When is the Best Time to Water?

Water in the morning for heat-loving crops and in the evening for cool-weather veggies.

During the dog days of summer, when is the best time to water your garden? In the Maritime Northwest, most rain falls between the hours of 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. Evaporatively speaking, this is also the most efficient time to water. However, we often don't get much precipitation this time of year.

One thing that is clear: If you water your garden during the heat of a summer day, much of the water is lost to evaporation. Early morning or evening are the best times to water, depending upon the type of plant:

  • If you don’t get up early enough to water before sunup, try to water heat-loving plants like basil, peppers and eggplants before 10 a.m. This will help reduce evaporation, make the soil darker and able to absorb more heat.
  • Watering in the evening is beneficial for crops that prefer cool weather such as lettuce and spinach. The water cools down the soil after a hot day and helps prevent the plant from prematurely "bolting," or going to seed.

Contact our Garden Hotline for more information or to get custom answers to your specific questions, (206) 633-0224. Get more information on organic gardening topics in Seattle Tilth's "Maritime NW Garden Guide" or ”Your Farm in the City.” Check out our list of classes.

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