GLENCOE, Ill. (CBS) — When it comes to watering, you just can’t take it for granted – especially in the garden.

As CBS 2’s Megan Glaros reports in this week’s Can You Dig It, you’ve got to take charge.

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“If you want your plants to live, you need to water,” said Rick Belding of the Chicago Botanic Garden. “Don’t assume that nature is taking care of that for you.”

There is an art to the science of watering. Belding says you need to get to know your plants’ appetites.

“There are many plants in the garden that are complete water hogs, and they would include plants like celery; also big leaf plants,” he said.

But not as thirsty are plans such as cabbages, because their waxy leaves retain water. Delicate herbs such as basil also require comparatively less watering.

When it comes to watering, Belding says most often, it’s location, location, location.

“Water those at the base of eth plant, because you don’t want to splash any fungal spores that may exist in the soil onto the underside of the plant,” he said.

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For large spaces, Belding says attaching a breaker to your house spreads the water evenly. He discovered some okra that had wilted a little, which was sharing a bed with the water-hogging celery.

“I just turn on the breaker, and I just move the water wand back and forth in order to make sure everyone’s getting an equal drink,” he said.

To check if you’ve watered enough, you can use a trowel or soil knife.

“Now that we’ve watered, I’m going to just dig down an inch or so, and you can see that the soil is nice and dark, and nice and moist,” Belding explained after a watering session.

And finally, timing is everything. Belding says the best time to water is in the early part of the day.

“It really should be early,” he said. “If you water late in the day or at night, then basically, your plant is sitting in the water until the sun once again rises.”

We want to know what’s happening in your garden, so send us a photo and let us know. And if you have any gardening questions, we’ll give you the answers.

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