How to water gardens may seem like a “duh” comment, but if plants are watered too much, too little, or at the wrong time they can be damaged, stressed, or killed.
Best Times to Water – The best times to water are in the morning before the sun gets too hot, or in the evening when the sun is going down. In the heat of the day, water can evaporate quickly and the plant doesn’t benefit from the water you give it. You may need to water some plants twice a day in very hot dry weather.
How Much to Water – Too much water can smother the plant and too little will dry it up and it will eventually die. Most plants thrive with at least one inch of water per square foot each week, but there are just too many interpretations as to what this actually come to in gallons. You need to know your plants and how much water it takes to keep them vibrant and happy. Do not water by spraying leaves from overhead when the sun is high and hot, it can burn the leaves.
Water by Counting – I use a very non-scientific method to determine how much water I need to give each plant or pot. I count while applying the water. Turn on the water, put the sprayer near the base of the plant and count until you think you’ve watered enough, probably a slow count of somewhere between 10 and 20, or whatever works for your plant or pot. When experimenting with the right count for most plants, you can use a meter to measure the water in the plants roots before and after you water. This will help you determine the correct count. This method works with watering cans also.
Using a Soaker Hose – This is a great way to water and a time-saver also. You can lay the soaker hose around plants or thread it through the beds. Most soaker hoses will water a width of about 18 inches, so use that figure to determine how far apart to lay the hose. You can also splice in regular hose to avoid watering areas with no plants such as between beds or the distance from the water source to the watering area. Start with running water through for an hour and test how deep the water goes.
Different Plants Have Different Needs – Some plants like lettuce or roses need more water and plants like sedums need less. You will learn what works best for the plants you grow by how the plants respond. Droopy leaves say, “Help, I need a drink”. Even though most plants will recover with a good watering, it puts a lot of stress on them to allow them to get to this stage. So, experiment and learn what your plants need.