Determining which Watering system to use

The amount of water your garden needs depends on what kind of soil you're using, what your climate is like, and what kinds of plants you have. Shallow-rooted plants, for example, need more water than deep-rooted ones for the simple reason that they're closer to the soil surface, which dries out more quickly in the heat of the sun. Deep roots can reach the more consistently damp lower soil layers.

For many gardeners, getting enough water to their gardens is the biggest gardening challenge. If you're crunched for time or have a large area to water, installing in-ground sprinklers and irrigation systems may be a good idea.

Employing the use of a regular watering system, such as drip irrigation or an in-ground system, is the best approach to ensuring a consistent moisture cycle to grow happy, healthy plants. However, in-ground watering systems tend to be expensive and should be installed by professionals. If you're looking for suppliers of irrigation systems, the companies in the Appendix may be a good starting point.

Of course, you can always water your garden yourself, by hand, and really that's a great way to do it, because you can personally inspect each plant. For details about equipment like soaker hoses and portable sprinklers to help you with your watering, please check out Chapter 5.

Whether you water by hand or use a system, here are some things you may want to keep in mind:

  • Watering your garden early in the morning, before the sun is fully overhead, is usually best. Watering at night can make plants susceptible to diseases that cause them to rot.
  • Some plants in your garden, such as melons, may require more water than others, in which case watering by hand is probably best.
  • If you don't have an outdoor spigot close to your garden for convenient hose hookup and watering, a rain barrel may be a good substitute for keeping water close to your garden. Various mail-order suppliers sell rain barrels.

Make sure you get a barrel that's tall enough so pets can't get in, or put on covers to reduce drowning risks to pets and children. To keep mosquitoes out, use products like Mosquito Dunks, which are donuts of a type of bacteria that's harmless to humans but deadly to mosquito larvae.

  • Usually, watering the soil rather than the leaves is best because the roots are what absorb water, and they're in the soil. Also, wetting the leaves can result in more disease problems. Still, on a very hot or windy day, watering the leaves can reduce wilt and lower leaf temperatures.
  • Unless you have a very large garden, sprinkler heads that you attach to garden hoses are usually better suited for lawns than gardens. If you decide to use one, make sure the sprinkler covers the entire garden area evenly and doesn't water things you don't want watered, like your lawn furniture or windows.
  • No matter what kind of garden you have or which watering system you use, infrequent deep soakings are better than frequent shallow waterings.
Growing Soilless

Growing Soilless

This is an easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide to growing organic, healthy vegetable, herbs and house plants without soil. Clearly illustrated with black and white line drawings, the book covers every aspect of home hydroponic gardening.

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