Watering can

Source: Own work

Watering can

In most cases, you don’t have to water your garden plants: they get enough water from the soil.

However, there are a few cases where you should water your garden plants:

  • the plants are young or recently planted
  • the weather has been dry for a long time
  • some plants have high water needs

Which water should you use for watering?

The best water for gardening is rainwater. It is very interesting to install a rainwater tank in your garden.

Groundwater obtained by drilling or from a well is also very good.

If you do not have a rainwater tank or groundwater, you can just use tap water.

What time of the day should you water your garden plants?

It is recommended to water early in the morning or in the evening.

This way, the water has time to penetrate deep into the ground.

If you water during the day when the temperature is higher, a large part of the water will evaporate and be lost.

Your plants also risk a thermal shock when watering when it’s warmer: the water you use (especially tap water or groundwater) is much colder than the air temperature.

How often do you have to water?

That depends on the rainfall and the plant itself.

In case of prolonged drought, it is best to water daily.

Garden hose

Source: Rusty Clark

Garden hose

How much water do you have to give?

It doesn’t make any sense to give a 2 m high plant only a 1/2 liter of water. The water would evaporate during the day when it gets warmer and what is left is not enough for the plant.

You have to give enough water so the water penetrates deep into the ground where the roots can still reach it during the day.

How much this is, is difficult to express in liters because it depends on the type of plant, the weather and the type of soil. Clay and loam hold water longer than rocky or sandy soils.

In addition, in your garden there are probably large plants next to small plants with less water requirements. You have to give more water to those big plants than to those little plants.

If you use a watering can, you can more or less know how much water you used but with a garden hose this is obviously hard to estimate.

So it’s a matter of experience: irrigate and check later that day whether or not the water has dried at the surface and slightly deeper. Because excessive watering so the soil stays very wet can be as harmful as water shortage.

Where do you water?

Might sound crazy but you water on the ground itself, not on the plant.

For larger plants it is usually easy to pour water around the foot of the plant.

In a bed of small plants this is impossible because they are often too close to each other. In that case, you may pour water on the plants but with the spray head tuned so the water jet is not too hard to avoid damaging the plants.

How do you check if you have given enough, too much or too little water?

  • the surface of the soil is damp when you watered in the morning and check in the evening,: you have given too much water and you should skip one or more waterings. If you watered in the evening, it is possible that the surface is still moist because it is colder at night, even during a heat wave.
  • the surface of the soil is dry but a few cm lower it is still damp: you have given too much water and you should skip one or more waterings.
  • the soil is dry at the surface and lower in the ground: you have given too little or just enough water and may water again.

You must take into account the water at the surface and just below it can evaporate. Much lower in the ground there might still be enough water near the roots of the plant.

Spray nozzle

Source: eosdude

Spray nozzle

With the watering can or the garden hose?

That depends on what water you use: you can not connect a garden hose to a rainwater tank, there is not enough pressure. In that case, you will have to walk back and forth a few times with a watering can.

On the other hand, it depends on the size of your garden: in a large garden it may be difficult to walk back and forth between the rainwater tank and your plants several times with your (filled and heavy) watering can. Then it’s just easier to use a hose.

Spray nozzle or not?

A spray nozzle divides the water jet into several thinner and softer jets. This is suitable for seedlings and small plants.

Larger plants are best watered without a spray nozzle, which is a lot faster.

You can also control the spray nozzle while you are watering: with larger plants, dial the spray nozzle to have a larger flow rate, with smaller plants, cut the flow rate so you don’t damage your plants.

Other irrigation systems:

You can also water your garden plants with some other systems, whether or not planned to automatically start:

  • micro-drip system: this is a flexible tube with holes that you install next to your plants. To water, just open and close the tap.
  • sprinkler: this is a device that connects to a garden hose. The water jet rotates at 360 ° to irrigate your plants in all directions.
  • swivel sprayer: this is a device that connects to a garden hose. The water jet swings back and forth.