Watering Your Garden

Homeowners have several ways to water their gardens. Most of these options are simple to use and work effectively. These methods include a watering can, garden hose with a spray attachment or fan nozzle, portable lawn sprinkler, soaker hose, or drip or trickle irrigation. Drip irrigation will require special equipment, but it is the best method to use for conserving water.
A watering can or hose is fine for small gardens. When using a hose to water, use a low-pressure stream directed towards the base of the plant, not the foliage.
There are a wide range of watering patterns and area coverages using overhead sprinklers. While convenient, they are not very water-efficient. Due to small droplet size, a substantial amount of water is lost to evaporation during hot, windy days. Many sprinklers deposit less water as it moves outward away from the source. Therefore, sprinklers need to be placed at staggered locations to provide adequate overlap. This overlap results in an over application of water beyond the plant’s needs. Oscillating sprinklers apply more water evenly than overhead sprinklers and can be easily adjusted to cover square or rectangular areas. Watering the foliage with a sprinkler can increase disease problems. To combat this, water early in the morning to reduce the chances for disease outbreaks.
Soaker hoses are an easy watering device that is inexpensive. The hose is made of canvas or plastic tubing that allows water to seep out along its length at a low rate. Water is conserved because the water is directed to the ground and little water is lost to evaporation or runoff. The small stream of water causes little or no compaction of soil or splashing of muddy water on plants. The drip system has emitters that are perfect for raised bed or container gardens. The emitters are short tubes that comes off the main water supply hose. The gardener can place these where ever necessary without worrying about the leaves or fruits getting wet. The drip system also has a filter or self-flushing emitters to prevent clogging. The drip system is a cost-effective irrigation tool that uses a minimum amount of water. Be aware of when the plants need more water during their development stages. Generally, the first few weeks after planting and during the development of fruit are when plants may be affected by shortages of water. Be sure to give ample watering during these stages to allow your garden to grow.
For more information on vegetable gardens, please visit the Home and Garden Information Center website at hgic.clemson.edu. Tune in on Tuesday nights to watch “Making it Grow” at 7 p.m. on SCETV or mig.org. Email Outen at [email protected]
*Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to people of all ages, regardless of race, color, gender, religion, national origin, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital or family status and is an equal opportunity employer.