How to Water for Better Tasting Crops

Reader Contribution by Benedict Vanheems
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The taste of fruits and vegetables is determined by the combination of sugars, vitamins and aroma compounds found naturally within them. Too much water will dilute these flavor components, while less watering helps to concentrate flavor and nutrients.

When crops are watered very sparingly, yields may be a little smaller, but the flavor becomes more intense. Soils rich in organic matter hold onto soil moisture for longer. This means you need to water less often to enhance taste.

Minimizing Watering to Enhance Taste

Minimizing watering of tree fruits, such as cherries and peaches, fruit bushes in containers, such as strawberries and blueberries, and fruiting vegetables, like tomatoes and chilies, makes the plants concentrate on fruit production. The plant roots will delve deeply into the soil in search of water and minerals. When the fruits have set, reduce irrigation to a minimum without allowing the plants to wilt.

Root crops, such as carrots and beets, also taste better in drier soils. Water them for the first three to four weeks after planting, then reduce irrigation to a minimum.

Watering Heavily for More Succulent Greens

Leafy salads and greens, on the other hand, benefit from plenty of water. In these crops, lots of water helps to dilute very spicy or bitter tastes. This means you can water more or less, depending on if you prefer your leaves super-spicy or mild-tasting. Watering also encourages more leafy growth that is tender and succulent.

Learn more about watering for flavor in this video.

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