Learn five easy watering techniques that save water AND time watering your garden while cutting down on chores, creating healthier plants, and allowing you to enjoy your garden more.
How are your gardens growing? Today’s Tuesdays In The Garden group is bringing you lots of summertime planning tips, from how to save water and time, to keeping your garden going during vacations.
During the warmer months, it seems like all we gardeners do is water – pots, vegetables, shrub and flower borders, and of course lawns. It seems that as soon as everything’s been watered, it’s time to start the whole rotation again.
While the chore of watering can’t be eliminated completely (unless you have everything automated, which would be amazing), there are some ways you can save water and time watering, making it easier for you and your plants. Using these tips will help the environment, too, because you’ll actually use less water than overhead watering from standard sprinklers or hand watering. That’s a win!
These watering techniques that I’m sharing with you are my absolute favorites – I have used them for years and I can promise that if you don’t have an automated sprinkler or drip system, these easy tips are the next best thing to cut down on the chore of watering – whether it’s flower borders, vegetables, or keeping your flower pots watered while on a vacation. (Affiliate links included where appropriate – thanks for your support!)
Five Ways to Save Water and Time Watering
1. Lay soaker hoses in beds, borders, and garden rows.
How: Simply hook a soaker hose to your main hose and let it soak the ground for two to four hours every 5 to 7 days, depending on the bed’s location (for example, beds under trees will need more moisture), the weather, and your home’s water pressure. To know how long for your garden, use your finger to see if the soil is moist 1-inch down (about to your first knuckle) – if it is, then the bed has received enough water (this is also the way to see if you need to water – too much water isn’t good for plants, either).
Why: Less frequent, deep watering creates healthy, established roots that can withstand dry spells easier.
Extra tips: Invest in quick connect hose ends that make hooking the main hose up to the soakers a snap – literally. And when they sprout a hole (they will, eventually…) here’s how to easily repair soaker hoses.
2. Lay down newspaper or cardboard and mulch.
How: Cover bare, moist ground with 5-8 layers of newspaper (or 1 layer of cardboard), top with soaker hoses, and then with a layer of dark-colored mulch (see our video here for step-by-step tutorial). In the vegetable garden, lay paper (or plastic mulch like red for tomatoes and black for peppers) between the plants and on the paths before covering with straw or grass clippings.
Why: This tip makes the soaker hoses even more efficient by helping to regulate soil moisture and not dry out as fast. It’s especially helpful in the vegetable garden, as some plants will become stressed with uneven soil moisture (example: blossom end rot on tomatoes is caused by this as well as low calcium in the soil).
Extra tip: This is also the secret to a weed-free garden, which I’ve written about a lot because gardening became SO much easier after I started implementing this in all my garden areas!
Click the arrow for the rest of the techniques and more summer tips!