Watering Your Garden: the Basics

Roots are the primary means by which plants take in water, and then carry that water throughout the plant. This water is necessary for several processes, including photosynthesis, which supplies the energy that is necessary for growth and reproduction. Plants that do not receive enough water can sustain significant harm, and in extreme circumstances, they may even perish as a result.

When a plant does not receive enough water, it will begin to preserve what moisture it has by turning off processes that are not absolutely necessary. This can cause the plant to wilt, the leaves to become yellow, and the general growth to slow down. It is also possible for the stems and branches to dry up and become brittle, which makes the plant more vulnerable to damage from the wind and other external variables.

In order to prevent root rot from occurring, it is essential to maintain a moist soil environment around the plant's roots without allowing it to become waterlogged. It is essential to conduct study and get a thorough understanding of the requirements posed by each specific kind of plant in order to successfully tend a garden.

How much water?

The majority of plants that are grown outside require one inch of water every week (0.623 gallons per square foot). However, what does this imply for your backyard garden?

The University of California estimates that a typical raised bed measuring 4 feet by 8 feet requires 20 gallons of water each and every week (32 square feet x 0.623 gallons). Both will be affected by the quantity of evaporation that takes place in your region on a given day, although in-ground gardens will need slightly less water than container gardens.

Putting an empty bowl or can next to your plants before you water them is the most effective technique to determine whether or not your garden is receiving an adequate amount of water. After the watering cycle is over, take a measurement of the amount of liquid left in the can.

The Soil Type and Watering

The amount of water that your plants take in will be influenced by the type of soil they are growing in. This is due to the fact that certain varieties of soil are better able to absorb water and then distribute it directly to your plants.

Sandier soil is more likely to drain water quickly away from plant roots, in contrast to clay soil, which has a tendency to retain water close to the surface. The optimum soil for a garden is rich and loamy. The components that make up loam are sand, silt, and clay particles, as well as decomposed organic material. It does not become waterlogged when it rains, but it does not prevent drying out during periods of extreme heat. If the soil in your garden is loamy, you will need to water it less while still seeing improved development overall.

You can make your soil more loamy by adding composted kitchen scraps, manure, or yard waste if it isn't already. Your soil's capacity to hold onto water will rise in proportion to the amount of organic matter that has been decomposed and composted. This will, over time, contribute to the transformation of the soil in your garden into loam.

The Best Method

There are several approaches to watering your garden, and whatever one you choose will depend on its location, orientation, and size.

  • Because it distributes water exactly where your plants need it – at soil level – drip irrigation is the most effective way for irrigating a garden. This is because it minimizes the amount of water that is lost to evaporation. However, given the higher initial investment required, drip irrigation isn't always the best choice for those who have smaller gardens. Learn more about drip irrigation by reading some more.
  • For watering smaller gardens, soaker hoses are an excellent choice. They may be quickly assembled and have a low price tag. A soaker hose works similarly to drip irrigation in that it applies water directly to the ground. Although they are not as accurate as drip irrigation systems, soaker hoses are available in a wide range of lengths and diameters to accommodate a wide number of uses.
  • When it comes to watering gardens, sprinklers are not as efficient as other methods because they have a greater tendency to waste water through evaporation and overspray. Sprinklers disperse water across a wider area than traditional watering methods, which provide it at ground level. Instead of directing the water toward your plants, more of it is wasted. Sprinklers can also contribute to the transmission of disease since they moisten the leaves of a plant in addition to the soil.
  • Hand watering is an accurate method that also offers many other advantages. Although it takes more time and might not be feasible for larger areas, this method allows you to have more frequent and personal interactions with the plants in your environment. You will be able to troubleshoot smaller problems in this way before they develop into something more significant.


Be sure to drink plenty of water first thing in the morning. If you have the ability to automate your watering system, watering your garden at night, especially on hot summer days, is an even better option.

The garden's watering needs

Although perfecting your routine is essential, there are other things you can do to cut down on the amount of water your garden requires, such as completing the following measures.

  • Mulch your garden. After planting, covering the soil's surface with a layer of mulch helps to minimize evaporation and maintain the soil's temperature. There is such a wide variety of high-quality mulches available, ranging from straw to compost.
  • Keep the amounts of organic stuff in good shape. A soil that is abundant in organic matter is better able to hold onto water. Additionally, it has a higher nutrient density per square inch. Spreading compost on your garden once or twice a year can assist in keeping the organic content stable.
  • Try gardening without turning the soil. When you churn up the earth, you release moisture that is buried deep within the soil into the surrounding air. Instead, you should make an effort to not disrupt the soil in any way. The fall is the best time to plant cover crops, and then in the spring you should cut them down, followed by the application of mulch and compost. The capacity of your soil to store carbon is increased when you farm using no-till techniques. One effective alternative that does not require tilling is raised-bed gardening.
  • Either automate the process of watering your plants or use a timer. You should think about installing an autonomous watering system that is connected to drip irrigation if you have a large garden. Every time you use this kind of system, you'll be able to cut down on your water consumption. You can also locate automations that are fueled by the sun.
  • If you are unable to fully automate your system, one option for minimizing water waste is to install a straightforward timer. Timers for water are useful for a variety of watering systems, including soaker hoses, sprinklers, and more.
  • Don't water when there's a chance of rain! If you have your watering system automatic, don't forget to turn it off when it rains. This may sound ludicrous, but it's important to remember.

Use water-saving tools. In order to assist gardeners save water while still providing their plants with the nutrients they require, numerous low-cost products that promote water conservation have recently been available on the market.

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