How to water garden plants more efficiently

You can’t always depend on nature to provide sufficient rainfall to keep your vegetable garden or flower gardens thriving. Occasional watering will be necessary and and can be accomplished without installing an underground irrigation system. With water conservation in mind, you can water garden plants more efficiently following some simple watering techniques.

Watering small garden spaces

If your garden is small, you can use a garden hose, with or without a nozzle. Water at the base of the plant so the water is taking the shortest route to the roots. If you are using a hose without a nozzle, have the water on a slow stream so as not to wash away the soil. Another option is to use a sprinkler can with or without the sprinkler attachment; or try the age-old process of using a bucket or large kitchen pot and a ladle to dispense water to each plant.

Watering large garden spaces

For larger gardens, a lawn or yard sprinkler or soaker hoses can be used. Keep in mind that sprinklers shoot water into the air, resulting in more water evaporating before reaching the plants. To reduce chances of evaporation and thus conserve water, keep the water flow through the garden hose to the sprinkler at the lowest rate possible. In addition, you can reduce chance of evaporation by watering in the morning, before the heat of day. In a particularly large garden, you will need to periodically relocate the sprinkler to reach all areas.

The advantage of soaker hoses in that you can place the hoses immediately after planting seeds or starter plants; and then you can turn on the faucet (from a garden hose connected to the house spigot or connected to a rain barrel) as water is needed. A soaker hose is a very efficient way to water garden plants since it is dropping the water directly at the base of the plant. A potential disadvantage using soaker hoses is that you may need to lay a lot of them, and depending on available water pressure, you may need to change hose connections--disconnect one soaker to re-connect the garden hose to a different soaker hose--to water all areas of a large garden. 

Water conservation

When using hoses to water your gardens, to follow through on the concept of watering garden plants more efficiently, install a water timer to the faucet to shut-off the flow of water at a designated time. That way, if you forget the water is on or get detained, your garden plants will not be overwatered, your water bill won’t be outrageous, and you will help to conserve water.