Keeping your garden watered ensures healthy plants and an abundant harvest in time. Garden wisdom holds that your vegetables (it’s true for lawns, too) need an inch of water a week. And what doesn’t come in the form of rain will need to come from the spigot.
If you’re watering in the heat of the day, 14 percent of the water you put on your garden evaporates before ever reaching the roots.
All that municipal water comes at a price, especially during times of drought. To ease your mind about wasting water, try these money-saving (and water-saving tips).
WATERING TIPS FOR HEALTHY GARDENS:
- Water early in the morning, just as the sun rises, to avoid excess evaporation. If you wait until the heat of the day to water, it’s too late.
- Water at the roots, not the foliage, which can lead to diseases like powdery mildew.
- Encourage strong roots by watering deeply. A weekly soaking is better than a daily sprinkling.
- Look for a hose-end watering nozzle with adjustable spray patterns to give your plants individual care.
- An automatic drip irrigation system is the most efficient way to water. Install with a timer and rain sensor for maximum efficiency.
- A soaker hose under a layer of mulch will slowly deliver water to your plants. Attach to a timer at the faucet to deliver water when your plants need it.
- A layer of organic mulch will reduce evaporation, suppress weeds and keep soil cool. Add 3 to 4 inches of mulch around your vegetables for this benefit.
- A rain barrel is a simple solution to gather rainwater for reuse in your garden. Learn how to create your own rain barrel from a 55-gallon plastic barrel.
- Your garden will need less water if you start with drought-tolerant varieties of plants. Check plant tags and seed packets when purchasing.
TIP: Wilting leaves do not always indicate a need to water, especially late in the day. Wilting or slight drooping is a plant’s natural response to heat, much like a dog’s panting. If you notice wilting one afternoon and the plant is still drooping the next morning, go ahead and water.
Learn more about watering wisely.