As soon as you plant your vegetables and herbs, the very next thing you should do is water them generously and deeply. (This helps the soil settle around the plants' roots.)
Whatever you do, don't spray the plants with water! If, for some reason, you have to use a spray bottle or sprinkler, make sure you don't leave any water on the plants' leaves, otherwise you're putting them at risk for fungal disease. You can then keep watering your plants when the top inch of soil is dry. Depending on the type of crop, this may be once a week or once every other day. Jamie recommends giving them a good, long watering, rather than several shallow, fast waterings.
While it's important to keep your crops well-watered, you also don't want to overwater them. "The most common symptoms of overwatering plants include wilting and drooping foliage, defoliation, stunted growth and, in some cases, mold around the stem and leaves of the plant," Jamie says. "A good way to check if a plant has been overwatered is to pull it out and look at the roots—rotten roots are a good indication of overwatering."
Additional Summer Gardening Tips
- Because there are different varieties of vegetables out there, buy two or three different varieties and plant them in your garden. That way, if you happen to buy one that doesn't thrive, you still have backup plants that will.
- To control pests, use an organic pest-control spray, or try placing coffee grounds in a ring around individual plants to deter slugs.
- Try "companion planting" to control fungal disease, Jamie says—planting basil among tomatoes, for example.
- Design-wise, thyme and parsley make great "border plants" to put around the garden.