No matter what you choose to grow in your garden, ensuring that you water it regularly is the key to healthy greenery. But where to begin? For beginners and experienced gardeners alike, we’ve put together some of our top tips to make sure that your garden has all it needs to flourish.
There are a few factors to consider when it comes to watering your garden, and how often you need to water it. The most effective way to check, is to take a look at the condition of your soil. You can test how wet or dry it is with your bare hands; push your index finger in as far as you can - if it's moist, then you can hold off with your hose, but if it's dry it will need a good soaking.
The type of soil you have in your garden will also affect its humidity. Clay soils will retain more moisture, but will also be more likely to become waterlogged and suffer from drainage issues. Sandy soils will need watering more often, because they won't be able to retain the liquid as much as other soils.
It's best to water during the morning, before the sun is high in the sky. That way, you’re less likely to lose moisture through evaporation, and it gives your plants time to absorb all the nutritious goodness they need. For watering your lawn, take a look at our lawn care guide.
Try to focus on watering the roots of the plant, where it needs a drink the most. Watering the leaves will waste precious water, and could lead to unwanted diseases, such as blights. If you water in the morning, it will give time for the excess water which might have soaked the leaves to dry throughout the day. Try to make use of water butts to recycle any rain water; this will be especially handy when water is scarce in the summer months.
If you've got a large garden, it can be an immense task to drag your hose all over the place to make sure that everything gets the attention it deserves. Watering by hand can waste more water as you wander from plant to plant, and more than 50% of the water you use will be lost through evaporation or surface runoff. Too much water seeping through the soil will wash out the precious nutrients that your plants need.
The most effective way to water is irrigation. While you may be tempted by sprinkler systems, they can often waste more water than a drip irrigation kit, as the water isn’t localised on one target.
A dripper system will help to direct the water to the roots, which means there's less moisture for unwanted weeds, and it will help your plants to grow more efficiently. Drip irrigation emits the water slowly, allowing the plants time to soak it all up, and minimising surface runoff. Because they’re so effective, you can also use them during hose pipe bans.
Other efficient watering systems include seeper hoses, which are best for flower beds, or water reservoirs, which are just the thing your potted plants need.