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How to Water for Better Tasting Crops


Flavorsome crops are something we all
aspire to. Indeed it’s the main reason that many of
us grow our own fruits and vegetables. But did you realize that how you water has a
direct impact on the final taste of your harvests? Well, in this video we’ll show
you how tweaking your watering can transform your produce from bland – to delicious! When it comes to the flavor
of our crops, the biggest mistake is to overwater. The taste of the fruits, leaves and roots
we eat comes from the combination of sugars, aroma compounds
and vitamins found within them. Adding too much water dilutes these flavor
components, which in most cases means less tasty produce. Once established, most vegetables and fruits
cope pretty well with dry conditions, which helps to
concentrate both flavor and nutrients. Tree fruits such as peaches and cherries,
and fruiting vegetables such as tomatoes and chili peppers benefit from
reduced water levels. Less water means less leaf growth, so plants are forced to concentrate on fruit production. Roots will reach deeper in search of moisture,
while at the same time accessing minerals that contribute to a more
complex flavour. At the very least, reducing irrigation just one week
before fruits are picked can improve taste. You could try this with container-grown fruits
such as blueberries or strawberries. Tomatoes taste great with reduced irrigation. The secret is to keep plants well
watered as they establish, then reduce watering once the fruits start to ripen. Begin by applying water generously about two to three times a week, depending on
your local climate, weather and soil conditions, Then, once the fruits set,
significantly reduce the volume of water you give your plants at each watering. Don’t go so far as to allow plants to
wilt though! Soils with lots of added organic matter will naturally hold onto soil moisture for longer. This minimizes the need for more
frequent watering, which keeps those all-important sugars from being diluted. Some growers practice ‘dry farming’, when irrigation is stopped altogether or reduced to an absolute minimum once the fruits have set. Yields may be a little smaller,
but the flavor is significantly intensified. Root crops such as carrots, parsnips and beets
all see improved taste levels in drier soil. Dry conditions encourage roots
deeper into the soil, which has the added bonus
of making them more resilient. As with other crops, watering in the early stages
is important. Water for the first three to four weeks
after sowing or planting to ensure plants establish, then taper irrigation to a minimum. On the other hand, some crops benefit
from plenty of water which helps to dilute otherwise excessively spicy or
bitter tastes. Naturally hot leaves such as arugula or rocket will be very spicy if they’re kept dry. This means you can water more, or less, depending on whether you want your leaves super hot, or a little milder. Other leafy vegetables and salads
should be kept moist so they put on more leafy growth. The result is softer, more tender leaves
with a smooth and succulent texture. Something as simple as watering can have
a really profound effect on taste. If you’ve tried any of these techniques
before, let us know how you got on by popping us a comment below. And if you’d
like more handy hints like this, well, we’d love to welcome you to our
growing number of subscribers. I look forward to catching you next time. [Music]

31 Comments

  1. Gardener Earth Guy Author

    molasses works also, it's cheap about $20 for 5 gallons and you'll use 5- 10 milters to a gallon.
    it improves soil tilth also

    Reply
  2. Nathalie Kustcher Author

    also, a segment on how to water would be helpful. I've seen so many people water the plants instead of the soil, or water at wrong time of day…

    Reply
  3. Chuck Longton Author

    1. The Vegetable Garden Planner could use this information in the timeline graphs. Please find some way to indicate how much water a vegetable should get.

    2. I am experimenting with container gardening and using the square foot method for the containers. The water source is below the container and the water is wicked up into the container thru a net cut extending from the bottom of the container into the water source below. I am trying to see if the plants will self water to their individual needs without me watering the container. Have you seen this before? It's a variant of the Rain Gutter Grow System, which you can google online if you haven't.

    Reply
  4. RelentlessHomesteading Author

    You do such a wonderful job with these video – I've learned much watching dozens of them. Thanks – inspiring me on my garden, a couple videos on my new RelentlessHomesteading channel. So many thanks.

    Reply
  5. Tatiana Enders Author

    Thank you for this clever tip! This will help me grow even better tasting veggies! I have noticed before that taste differed based on how rainy the season is (we go to a farm to pick blueberries, and they tasted watery and diluted last year when there was a lot of standing water in the fields). In my own garden I notice that cucumbers need a bit more watering than some of the other cucurbits – since cucumbers are mostly water, if they are not watered often they start tasting bitter.

    Reply
  6. Something Different Author

    Agree. Tho another factor that also greatly effects taste is the quality of the water. If your were to plant 2 tomato plants in a pot, one using filtered water and one unfiltered, u will see that the filtered watered tomato will taste better. That's assuming that your taste buds r sensitive enough to notice. However, i think the best water is always the rain water, so don't water using tap (filtered or unfiltered), let the rain do it's job whenever possible and only water to keep the plant healthy and alive until the next rainfall.

    Reply
  7. melovescoffee Author

    I never water unless i just planted out. I plant them through the mulch, water once, forget. I don't grow in pots beyond the seedling stage. Well… dahlias. I don't eat those so i have no taste comparison for you. 🙂

    Reply
  8. Sandra Woodall Author

    Good to know. Since I live in hot Texas, I may have been overwatering to compensate for temperature. Back to every other day, guys. Get those roots down there.

    Reply
  9. bicanoo_magic Author

    You brilliant bugger.. I knew watering made a difference but just not HOW! I've over watered and killed plenty of plants and vegetables. I'm just a noob so trial and error is the way i learn. However, I know that over watering seems to be the killer factor.. no under watering. So now I'm going conservative..

    Reply
  10. OtisFan1 Author

    Thanks so much. Never knew this, but what you've said makes so much sense. In the many years I've gardened, I think I accidentally did what you said but only because I got tired of doing so much watering. So as each season progressed, I watered less often; just enough to prevent wilting., not because of knowledge, just laziness.;-)

    Reply
  11. Morgan G. Author

    Great video! Some of my plants have blight from over-watering, a combination of excess rain and newbie gardener getting hose happy (me). Somebody mentioned that I didn't seem to be watering enough, so I began to over-compensate. I actually like the idea of cutting way back once the fruit has set. I think I will go back to watering less. Thanks!

    Reply
  12. Jed is the best person alive. Author

    You're right about leafy veg. My patch of lettuces really benefitted from generous (but not over-done) watering. The plants grew soft & tender leaves.

    Reply
  13. Harbhajan Kaur Rebello Author

    hiii…m from india…i started growing vegetables from seeds in containers since 4 months…my Tomato plant is growing very well….but the flowers bloom turn yellow and fall off on its own….tried everything from my side but didn't get any positive result…pls guide me…. started giving less water though its rainy season here….

    Reply

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