Now that we are almost at the end of June, I find my plants are growing very fast.

I’ve already harvested the first of my Tumbler tomatoes at the end of May, as well as some of the chili peppers.

Regarding peppers and cucumbers, I am harvesting the fruit on the smaller side thus giving the plant a chance to grow bigger. If I were to leave the cucumber or pepper on the plant until they got to their “normal” size, I am sacrificing future fruit and flower production.

As I am after quantity, rather than large cucumbers or peppers at this stage, I pick them smaller. Soon, the plants will be big enough to support a normal-sized fruit.

Supplying the plants with enough water and nutrients is a high priority in maintenance of the greenhouse and its inhabitants. With the daytime temperature in the greenhouse getting to 30°C or even higher, an adequate amount of moisture and nutrients is certainly a must.

Water makes up most of the tissue of plants, and water carries the nutrients to the plant. A plant that is frequently short of water is also short of nutrients.

Water also cools the leaves as it evaporates, therefore, if the leaves have no water to evaporate, it may overheat in the sun and burn.

Watering is such a balancing act.

Plants need water; however, roots also need air. If the soil is kept too wet, air spaces are filled with water and the roots are weakened and susceptible to rot. Diseased roots do not absorb water and nutrients well, consequently the soil remains wet, cold and growth is stunted.

Between heavy watering, I let the soil dry out a bit and, depending whether I’m planting in a bench in the greenhouse or in potted containers, I assess each situation separately.

It would be so easy to recommend watering daily or on a specific time frame but everyone’s greenhouse, location, temperature and plants are different; so, each gardener must observe and learn their own plants’ watering needs.

The above-ground benches in our greenhouse were made with rough lumber. The boards for the bottom of the beds provided a place where the water could seep and drip through. When the plants were starting to produce fruit, we would water until we could see water dripping between the boards onto the floor.

This was not done on a daily basis but depending on the weather (sunny or cloudy) only about every second or third day. This would dry out the soil a bit, forcing air into the roots.

Remember, generally roots only grow looking for water. But don’t take it to the extreme — a plant that is wilting from lack of water is not a happy camper and will not produce much for you.

When growing plants in a container, I usually wait until the soil separates from the side of the pot before it gets a thorough watering. Again this forces air into the roots, but when the plant does get watered, it gets a thorough soaking.

Understanding your plants’ water and nutrient needs is essential to good growth and a productive crop.