Streamline Your Summer Garden Watering
In an ideal world, Mother Nature would make it rain every time we need it. But she sure does have a mind of her own, forcing gardeners to get creative! When it comes to keeping your garden hydrated throughout the summer, there isn’t one right answer, and there are many factors that can impact the health of your plants. If you’re experiencing wilting flowers or dry fruits, know that you’re not alone!
What Watering Challenges Are You Facing?
Maybe you can’t keep up with the amount of water your garden needs, or you have the opposite problem and your plants keep drowning. To make a plan for combating these issues, first identify what your current watering challenges are. Some common watering problems include:
- Giving the same amount of water to every crop. Each plant has different irrigation needs, so you’ll need to determine how your entire garden affects the overall watering plan. You might even need several different irrigation solutions to tackle your various crops.
- Living in either an extremely hot/dry or cold/wet climate. It’s too easy to overwater or underwater a garden, and many of us make assumptions about daily weather that don’t always pan out. If you’re dealing with either frequent droughts or rain, consider automating your irrigation plan so your garden always gets the right amount of water.
- Experiencing issues with runoff. Gardens are hardly ever 100% flat, so you’ll need to understand how slope and water quantity affect runoff. Areas where water collects can lead to bacteria formations, and other spots where water is flowing away will take essential nutrients with it.
Try Watering by Hand
Watering Cans: One of the most straightforward ways to water is with a simple watering can. These allow you to provide hydration right where it’s needed without investing in a fancy system. Watering cans are ideal for porch gardens, raised beds, and other small planters or garden plots.
Traditional hoses: For more extensive watering needs, consider using a garden hose. These come in many styles, including expandable, coiled, and flat/firefighter hoses, and can be paired with almost any type of nozzle or sprinkler for efficient watering. Read our hoses buying guide for help in picking the right choice for your garden.
Nozzles: Connecting a nozzle to your hose is a quick way to gain more control over the area you’re spraying. Multi-pattern nozzles let you select from up to 10 pressures by rotating the head. Fan nozzles gently spray through large mouths with tiny holes. Watering wands help you access hanging baskets, window boxes, and hard-to-reach spots. Read more from our nozzles buying guide.
Above-ground sprinklers: If you want better control than just using a hose but don’t want to water everything yourself, an above-ground sprinkler is a cost-effective solution. There are several water distribution methods, including stationary, oscillating, rotating, impulse, and traveling sprinklers. Most sprinklers can be hooked up to a timer for easy zone watering. Learn more about the options from our sprinklers buying guide.
Upgrade to an Irrigation System
Above-ground sprinkler systems: There are two types of hoses that allow gardeners to water without holding anything. Both soaker and sprinkler hoses are dotted with tiny holes that let water seep out and provide hydration right at the plants’ roots. Sprinkler hoses create more of a misting effect than soaker hoses, making them ideal for freshly seeded areas. Both let you customize your watering layout without disturbing the arrangement of your crops.
Drip irrigation systems: Similar to soaker hoses, drip irrigation systems water right at the roots using tubing and bubbler nozzles. But unlike soaker hoses (which release water along their entire length), drip irrigation systems only trickle where you place the connectors, hydrating the spots that need it. These are helpful for large gardens with long rows. Drip irrigation systems are more expensive than hoses, but cheaper than building an in-ground system.
In-ground sprinkler systems: For heavy watering needs, in-ground sprinkler systems are a worthwhile investment. These underground options have sprinkler heads that either pop up when watering or are permanently installed above the ground. The heads connect to a main water supply using pipes below the surface, allowing you to create watering zones and set schedules/water amounts for each.
Watering with a Rain Barrel
Hydrate your garden with the best natural resource – rain! Collecting rainwater is as easy as attaching a rain barrel to your gutter downspout. Rain barrels provide low-pressure water flow and can be connected to a drip irrigation system, soaker hose, or traditional hose to create a DIY irrigation solution. Most also have spigots for filling watering cans. Check out our project guide to learn more about how to choose and installing a rain barrel.
Harvesting rainwater is an age-old practice that offers a lot of benefits to gardeners and homeowners, including saving money on water bills, having extra water during droughts, keeping gutter runoff out of foundations and drains, and helping the environment by utilizing a natural resource. Read more about the key benefits of using a rain barrel. You can’t go wrong by upgrading to this eco-friendly and inexpensive solution!
Popular Watering Accessories
No one wants to constantly fight with their hose, and trying to avoid kinks can seem like a never-ending battle. An easy way to manage this is with a hose reel or stand, which keep the hose neatly coiled and ready to use. A hose cart adds even more portability because you can wheel it right to the watering spot. These options are helpful not just for using the hose but also for storing it!
There are many methods for automating your irrigation system, from watering timers and shut-off valves to full irrigation apps. Electric timers are the least expensive options and require very little maintenance. Use a timer in conjunction with a weather station to track your rain averages and schedule watering accordingly.
Best Purposes for Different Watering Solutions
Efficient watering: If you’re looking for ways to conserve water, there are some irrigation techniques to consider. Morning is the ideal time for watering so it sinks in deeply and doesn’t evaporate in high heat. A targeted solution like drip irrigation instead of large sprinklers is more efficient because it sends water right to the roots. Using an automated shut-off valve with a rain sensor is helpful for avoiding over-watering.
Porch and patio watering: Hand-held watering solutions are usually best for plants on solid surfaces because they provide the most flexibility and portability. For light watering needs, a simple watering can is your best bet. But if you don’t want to lug a can around for multiple planters, consider a hose with a rotating head nozzle so you can customize the pressure for each planter.
Raised bed watering: An easy way to build your own raised bed irrigation system is to thread a soaker hose through the plant bases. Your crops will hide the hose so it won’t detract from your garden’s beauty. Once added, the hose won’t need to be moved around and you’ll get better coverage than using a standard hose or sprinkler.
Vacation watering: Leaving your plants unattended is nerve-wracking for most gardeners. Installing a soaker hose is a quick solution that uses low water pressure to keep plants hydrated for up to a week. We recommend testing the hose’s pressure so your plants are moist but not saturated. Soaker hoses can be connected to rain barrels for consistent water flow.
Another option is to set up watering timers for your sprinklers, soaker hoses, or drip irrigation systems. These are especially helpful for zone watering. Pair a watering timer with a shut-off valve to prevent over-watering on rainy days. It’s a good idea to use a weather station beforehand to track your daily or weekly rain averages.
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Last updated: 7/21/2022