Water is just as crucial for your plants as it is for you. But watering can become quite a task, especially if you have a big garden to tend to. Imagine dragging a heavy watering can to the furthest corners of your garden in summers every day, sometimes twice a day when it gets too hot.
In modern times when we don’t want to waste as much time or effort in watering as our ancestors, you’ll find countless solutions to make it simpler. From automatic sprinkler systems to soaker-hose irrigation, there are bundles of options out there. Different units have their own benefits and are suited to different requirements.
If you’re having a hard time selecting the best vegetable garden watering system for your lawn, here’s a comprehensive guide for making your choice easier.
What Needs To Be Considered When Choosing The Best Vegetable Garden Watering System?
The goal is simple: watering the plants. However, how you go about it is what matters here. There are various ways to achieve the same purpose, so there are several options out there. If this is the first time you’re considering installing a watering system for your vegetable garden, there are certain things you need to know. Consider all of these options when selecting your garden watering system. When selecting a watering system it is important to use the right system for the vegetables that you are growing.
If you’re not prepared to invest a lot in a more sophisticated watering system, a garden hose is a good start. Hoses offer a more hands-on technique where you can carefully water according to the specific requirements for each of your plants and works well if you don’t have a large piece of land to cover. After your good old watering can, a hose might be the cheapest option out there, but it can be wasteful and will take much more manual effort than the other options, like soaker hoses or drip irrigation.
Reasons To Buy A Garden Hose
- Easy To Use
- Direct Water To Where You Need It
Garden Hose Recommendation And Buying Tips
When purchasing a garden hose it is worth measuring roughly how long your hose needs to be to water everywhere in your garden. You can connect two hoses together but I always recommend buying more than your need. It is worth paying a bit extra to get metal or high-quality connection parts. These do perish and need to be replaced, a good hose will last many years. Consider a lightweight expandable hose as these are easier to store and less likely to tangle.
Flexi Hose Lightweight Expandable Garden Hose
This lightweight and expandable garden hose from Flexi Hose comes in 3 sizes, 50ft, 75ft and 100ft. You can also connect multiple hoses together if you need even more reach. The 3/4 inch fittings are made from solid brass for longevity.
You also get a spray nozzle, case and a hook.
Sprinkler systems or spray irrigation uses sprinklers that broadcast water in half or full circles. You’ll also find underground pop-up sprinklers that emerge from the surface at the time of watering and go back down once their work is done. They’re generally less expensive than other options and can be helpful in watering a large garden. However, they’re wasteful and wet the foliage, making the plants susceptible to fungal diseases.
Reasons To Buy A Sprinkler
- Less Manual Labor
- Easy To Water Large Areas
Sprinkler Buying Tips And Recommendation
With any outdoor system getting hard wearing components is a must to ensure the product can withstand the elements. The Claber 8707 Impact Spike has an adjustable head meaning you can tweak the range and angle of spray depending on your water pressure. The metal parts mean its going to last longer against the elements. The Claber 8707 can also cover a range of 390 square meters so a single one is sufficient to cover your whole garden.
A soaker-hose irrigation system includes a hose punctured with multiple holes from end to end. You’ll find these systems with rubber, plastic, or even canvas hoses. As the water leaks through the holes, it’s absorbed by the soil to become available to the plant roots. You can either leave them over the ground or install it underground to water the roots directly. You can either choose to operate it manually or install a timer to make watering even more manageable.
Reasons To Buy A Soaker Hose
- Great For Small Areas
- Provides Deep Watering
- Can Easily Be Moved
Drip irrigation system, or trickle irrigation system, is similar to the soaker hose system, except that the hose isn’t perforated through the entire length. Instead, a series of pipes, connected to the main pipe, are laid down on the garden, with nozzles fitted at intervals. With these drip emitters present at the desired spots, you can save water by installing them only where moisture is needed. It waters slowly over time, perfect for plants, and a good technique to prevent wastage. The drip irrigation system is ideal for vertical gardens and areas with water scarcity.
Reasons To Buy A Drip Irrigation System
- Saves Water
- Great For Low Pressure Or Off Grid Gardens / Allotments
- Perfect For The Greenhouse
- Cheaper Smaller Kits Are Available
No matter which type of watering system you’re considering, soaker hose, drip irrigation, or a simple sprinkler system, include a timer, and it will take most of your work away.
With simple manual twist timers, you can set the system to water for a suitable amount of time and free yourself from the trouble of turning the tap off and on each time. However, you’ll still have to set the timer each time you want to run the system.
A better option is to install a battery-operated tap timer, especially suitable if you can’t always be available to supervise. With such timers, you can pick the start and stop times and irrigation days. They also allow manual operation, for example, if it starts raining and you want to turn it off. Some timers are even rain sensor compatible, so you don’t have to worry if you’re away, and it starts to rain.
Automatic VS Manual
You can go for automatic watering systems that handle much of the watering chore on their own or manual systems to keep the control in your hands. You can either purchase a fully automated, ready-to-install watering system kit from the market or automate a simple soaker hose or drip irrigation system on your own. For automating your irrigation system, you’ll need to connect it to a timer, rain sensor, and controller. A remote controller will allow you to access your system and make necessary adjustments even when you’re not close. Including a rain sensor will add automatic shut-off capabilities in the event of a downpour.
Different types of greenhouse irrigation systems are used, including micro-sprinkler irrigation, drip irrigation system, and hydroponic irrigation. Since the micro-sprinkler system is aerial, it wastes water, creates puddles, and soaks the foliage. The most common choice of gardeners is an underground drip irrigation system. It delivers water and nutrients directly to the roots. This type of watering keeps the foliage and the surroundings dry and prevents wastage through evaporation from the surface.
Watering Requirements For Root Vegetables
Root vegetables have specific irrigation requirements. The aim is to get the roots to go deeper into the ground in search of water this will also produce a better larger crop. This includes vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, beetroot, and garlic. This also includes potatoes. The best type of watering system to use here is a soaker hose on a weekly basis (more if it is hot and dry) you really want the water to soak deep into the soil. A soaker hose can be left in place this means the soil and roots are less likely to be disturbed. The same result can be obtained using a hose but it just takes more time and patience.
Do’s and Don’ts Of Watering Vegetable Garden
No matter which irrigation system you use to water your vegetables, there are certain dos and don’ts to keep in mind. Most vegetables are very specific about their watering requirements and will only perform best when watered in the recommended way. Here’s what you need to be careful about:
Do’s Of Vegetable Garden Watering
- Do water deeply and less frequently to promote the development of deep roots. Frequent, shallow watering develops shallow, weaker roots. You need to train roots to run deep into the soil in search of moisture, and adjust your watering schedule to support it. Though different vegetables have slightly different requirements, it’s generally a good idea to soak the soil to a depth of 5 to 6 inches each time you water the crop, and then allow the top few inches to dry out before the next watering.
- Do water at the best time. The best time to water the crop is early in the morning. At this time, the temperatures are cooler and the soil has a better chance to absorb the moisture before the intense heat of the day speeds up evaporation from the surface. Also, watering early morning always gives more time for the foliage to dry out before nightfall.
- Do direct the water stream at the base of the plants. With a drip irrigation system, this isn’t a problem since moisture is already directed towards the roots, keeping the foliage dry. When using a watering can or hose to water the crop, aim to water at the base, preventing the foliage from getting any splashes. Splashes on the leaves and stems promote diseases, so avoid it as far as possible.
- Do use soaker hoses or drip irrigation systems to water your vegetable garden. These irrigation systems aim moisture towards the roots, limiting wastage and preventing the foliage from getting wet.
Don’ts Of Vegetable Garden Watering
- Don’t water during the afternoon when the temperatures are hot and evaporation is high. The soil won’t be able to absorb the water properly.
- Don’t water lightly and frequently as it inhibits the development of deeper roots. Shallow roots are not good at absorbing moisture and nutrients, neither can they provide the required support to the plant.
- Don’t water the leaves. It’s the roots that need water, not the leaves, stems or flowers. Wetting the plant encourages diseases, so it’s best to avoid these.
- Don’t use irrigation systems that spray water into the air. They cause wastage and increase the chances of wet foliage.
- Don’t water container-grown vegetable gardens at the same frequency as your in-ground crops. Container soil dries out quicker than that in the garden and will need to be watered more frequently to cover the losses.
All the different varieties of vegetable garden watering systems make your work easier and less time-consuming. If you’re busy and have a large garden that you’re having trouble maintaining, consider installing an automatic watering system, complete with controllers and rain sensors, so you won’t ever have to worry about your plants going thirsty or being overwatered again.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I Water My Vegetable Garden Everyday?
How often you water your vegetable garden will depend on a number of factors, soil type, weather conditions, and type of vegetable plant. If the weather is hot and dry and the soil is fast draining then watering every day is a good idea. I generally suggest you look at the soil, poke your finger into the soil if it’s dry then give the vegetable plant a good water. Do this every day and if it’s constantly dry keep watering daily or even twice daily.