How to Water, When to Water
Watering at the right time, in the right place, and using the right methods can make a big difference in how much water your garden needs. See our article (with video demo) listing our 10 tried-and-tested tips for saving water in the garden.
10 Smart Watering Tips for the Garden
1. Water Only When You Need To
If you’re not sure you need to water, check for soil moisture by digging a small hole with a trowel, or with your finger. If the soil us cool and damp below the surface, leave watering for another time.
2. Time Your Watering
Watering early in the morning gives crops enough time to take up the moisture before it evaporates in the heat of the afternoon. Water-splashed foliage will also have time to dry before nightfall, minimizing problems with slugs and fungal diseases.
3. Take Careful Aim
Direct the flow of water at the base of plants where it’s needed, and avoid splashing the leaves. Watering heavily . A lot occasionally is better than little and often, and will help develop a better root system.
4. Trap Water
Sink plastic pots up to the rim next to thirsty plants such as squash, then water into the pot. The water will be delivered directly to the root zone instead of running off the surface. You can also use an upturned bottle with the cap removed and the bottom cut off instead of a pot.
5. Irrigate Efficiently
Automatic drip irrigation or leaky hoses are less wasteful than using sprinklers. Put your setup on a timer and override it when rain is due. Keep an eye on the weather forecast!
6. Pick Pots with Care
Clay pots wick moisture out of the potting soil and metal pots heat up very quickly, which accelerates moisture loss. Grow in plastic or glazed pots instead. You can hide ugly pots within a more decorative metal or terra cotta outer pot if necessary.
Cluster pots together to cast shade and slow evaporation further.
7. Add Organic Matter
Soils that are rich in organic matter absorb and retain moisture better, so add well-rotted compost or manure to beds whenever you get the chance.
8. Lay Mulch Regularly
Mulches slow down evaporation. Landscape fabrics will work, or use pebbles and stones on pots. T. The best mulches however are compost and other organic matter, which will also help to feed the plants as they grow. Lay mulches at least two inches thick onto moist soil, and keep them topped up throughout summer.
9. Harvest Rainwater
Locate water barrels or tanks close to where you’ll most need the water. Collect water off your house roof, shed and greenhouse into water barrels. Multiple water butts barrels can be linked together to maximize your rainwater storage. Check local laws on rainwater harvesting first.
10. Keep Your Beds Weeded
Hoe off annual weeds and dig out perennials weeds to prevent them competing with your veggies for the available soil moisture.
See the Almanac Watering Guide with critical times to water and gallons needed for common vegetables.