There are several choices that you can use to keep your garden watered. Depending on the size of your garden, your available time and the expense you want to put into it one solution may be the best for you.

The Hose: The hose is the most basic and in some ways easier method because you can just pick it up and spray. You will soon tire of standing there for the period of time that it takes, however.

Oscillating Sprinklers: These are the most common type and are good for watering a rectangular area such as a vegetable garden. You can usually adjust the area so that half or three quarters of the area can be covered. They are limited in terms of large a garden you can water and so for a larger garden you may have to move them once or twice.

Pulsating Sprinklers: These are often better, especially if you need to water a larger area. Pulsating sprinklers disperse water from a single jet, and are usually adjustable for watering in full circle and partial circle patterns. Most models are typically adjustable for the distance of throw as well. They can be connected to any standard, above the ground hose.

Soaker Hoses: These are rubber hoses made from recycled rubber that allow water to drip out through many tiny holes. You place the hose at the base of a line of plants and turn on the water. The water will drip out very slowly and most of it will get to the root system. Because of this they are about 90 percent efficient, compared to between 65 and 75 percent for sprinklers, meaning that 90 percent of the water gets to where your plants can use it. This can be a big difference. I use mine to put under the plastic mulch covering I use for plants that need a lot of water such as cucumbers and melons.

Overall, plants need about 1 inch of water a week, whether they get it from nature or you. Watching them carefully to be sure that they do not dry out too much is one of your most important jobs.


Leonardo da Vinci said that “Water is the driver of nature.” He could not have been more correct. You must be the one that assures that your garden is driven to the right place.

To this end being sure that your plants have the right amount of moisture is absolutely essential if you are going to have a good garden. Sometimes nature will take care of it but do not depend on that, since there will be periods of time that you will have to pay close attention to when and how much to water.

Watering Guidelines

There are some tips and guidelines that you should be aware of.

Vegetables and other annuals should be watered at the first sign of droop.

The best time to water is early in the morning. This will give your plants more time to absorb water before the midday sun dries the soil. If you water in the middle of the day there will be more evaporation. If at night, plants that are damp overnight can be more vulnerable to slugs and fungus.

If possible use a simple drip irrigation system, such as a soaker hose, giving roots time to absorb more water. Also, you can set your watering using an automated timer, which makes watering the right amount very easy to get right. These timers  screw onto the faucet hose end. A timer allows you to set the time of day and duration of the watering period

Covering the soil around the base of the plant with plastic or mulch conserves water and can be a real lifesaver for plants. A sheet of plastic or a three-inch layer of mulch will act like a protective coating over the ground, holding in moisture longer so you won’t need to water as often.

Water less often but give them a good soaking. This will save you time and water and can be better for your plants too. For most fruits and vegetables, thoroughly soak the soil, with about a half an inch of water, every three or four days. This minimizes the water lost to evaporation and encourages roots to reach further into the ground to absorb extra moisture, making them deeper, stronger and less vulnerable to drying out.
Watering Your Garden
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