Watering practices play a vital role in keeping your garden healthy. Efficient watering conserves one of our most precious shared resources. The keys to success include: provide the right amount of water; water in ways that provide the most benefit to individual plants; and, water in ways that avoid waste.
Determining the Right Amount
- Get to know your soil to determine how much and how long to water. Sandy soils retain less water than clay soils.
- Add compost to help sandy soil retain water and clay soils to drain.
- Both over-watering and under-watering cause problems for plants.
Best Watering Methods
- Group plants together based on their watering needs.
- Water only when soil is dry below the surface. Check with your finger or a soil corer.
- Directly water the soil, and not the plant foliage or tree trunks, by using drip irrigation or soaker hoses on both landscape beds and food gardens.
- Use rotating or oscillating sprinklers to deliver water most evenly on lawns.
- Mulch bare soil.
- Water in the early morning to reduce evaporation.
- Water just the root zone of your plants. The roots of most trees and shrubs are in the top 24 inches of soil, most annuals are in the top 12 inches, and most lawns in the top 6 inches.
- Simple, inexpensive timers added to all drip, soaker hose and manual sprinklers ensure that you do not need to rely on memory alone to shut them off.
- Automatic sprinkler system settings should be adjusted frequently as the weather changes, and be equipped with rain sensors and other water-saving devices.
2 responses to “Smart Watering”
I want to build a raised bed garden 2 4×8 beds but I want them to be self-watering. Here is a link to what I am thinking of doing although I am debating between river rock and sand or a combo. They would only be 20-24 inches tall so 12 inches of garden and 12 inches of wicking bed.
My gardens will be south facing. I’m trying to decide whether to go this route or whether people don’t do that in the PNW for some reason. I have mobility issues hence 24 in tall so I can sit on the edge and the need to not stand and water for a couple hours every day.
These are amazing -thanks for sharing Denise! I hope you did go ahead and build these for your garden. Sounds like with that overflow pipe they will work in the northwest. In the winter with our heavy rain you would want to be growing cover crop and / or winter crops to make sure the soil does not get oversaturated. I think they are worth a try. The height is good too for those of us with mobility issues – you are right about that.