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from the employee owners at Gardener's Supply Co.

How Do YOU Water the Garden?

Please vote in our poll. As we try to develop new solutions, it helps to understand how people are watering their gardens.

We had almost an inch of rain last weekend, and this week I couldn’t get over how great the gardens looked. The soil was moist and the plants looked so HAPPY! Clearly they had been nourished by the rain in a way that no amount of hand watering could equal.

Here in Vermont, we are usually blessed with enough summer rainfall to satisfy most plants. My low-yield drilled well keeps me from watering more than about 20 minutes at a time, so I just use two French Blue Watering Cans. Using watering cans makes it clear how much water I’m actually applying. It also limits what gets watered: potted plants, plants in the greenhouse, transplants, and newly seeded areas in the vegetable garden. Planting thickly and keeping everything well mulched allows most plants to weather our dry spells.

We know that watering is a serious challenge for many gardeners. As we try to source and/or develop new watering solutions, it helps to understand how people outside of Vermont are watering their gardens. Please let us know by “voting” in the poll that’s located in the upper-right corner of this page. If you have the time to elaborate, add a comment below. Thanks!

-Kathy LaLiberte, Director of Gardening

8 Comments

  1. July 31, 2008    

    I am in New Jersey and although the humidity is always high the amount of rainfall is not.

    You are right, there is not amount of hose watering you can apply to compare to one good rainfall. That is why we capture our rain. Rain barrels are a great way to conserve water. Especially in an are that hits drought restrictions almost every year. We water infrequently and deeply to encourage deep root growth, so our plants and turf will be more drought tolerant.

  2. July 31, 2008    

    I am in CT and water by hand. I use the selfing watering planters and Aqua Cones, which water deeply at the roots. My zucchini and cucumber plants are so large that you can’t even see the cones with the 2 liter soda bottles attached. I especially like the cones because it’s a great example of rethink, reuse, recyle and reduce.

    My next investment is the solar irrigation system and rain barrels. Every little bit helps.

  3. Anonymous
    July 31, 2008    

    I live in Arkansas, where it is getting hotter and drier every year. I find that soaker hoses are a real time saver. I spend half a day laying them out and then have to do nothing else except hook up to them. they work really well because they allow you to soak an area, which help the plants grow deeper. I’ve got some areas I water by hand, but they are extremely limited. This year, good rain early helped reduce watering. I always check the rain forecast before I get out the hose.

  4. Anonymous
    July 31, 2008    

    I live in Wyoming, watering is definitely a challenge here! We are limited to certain watering days, times, and methods, which change based upon how much water we have stored in our reservoirs at the time. The more water in the reservoir, the more we are allowed to water. I have everything in my flowerbeds and vegetable garden set up on soaker hoses, which work very well for me. I also have 8 rain barrels, if there’s any water in them, I use it to water containers and greenhouse plants in the spring. I also economize in the house, catching water that would otherwise go down the drain, and using that to water containers. I also save water by limiting turf areas, and selecting drought tolerant plants that do well in our area…I’ve become quite the penstemon collector!

  5. July 31, 2008    

    I’m a Jersey girl, too. Rain barrels have really served me well this year. We’ve had some dry patches with intermittent downpours. Catching the rain in a barrel and then running it through a soaker hose when needed has kept my plants happy – and my water bill down!

  6. mimi
    July 31, 2008    

    Here in Santa Fe the word is drip. People here practice rain catchment of many kinds, including rain barrels under the canales, pumice wicks, berms and swales, and elaborate cisterns. Right now we are having our summer monsoon, with wonderful cooling thunderstorms many afternoons. The effect on both the cultivated garden and the wild lands around our home is amazing. There is no substitute for rain!

  7. August 1, 2008    

    Thank you everyone, for such helpful feedback. Please keep the comments coming.

  8. Catherine
    August 3, 2008    

    Catherine
    Cleveland, Ohio
    We have had a lot of rain this year! However, I am a big fan of soaker hoses, placed under mulch, manually turned on, and turned off with a timer. (I get busy doing other stuff in the garden!) I hand water and only use Dramm water breakers on my water wands, to ensure a gentle flow that will not wash soil away from roots. I always water at the roots, otherwise too much H2O is lost in evaporation. I prefer hand watering for mixed beds because some plants need more moisture than others. Hand watering also allows me to keep the foliage dry–especially in humid weather–to prevent powdery mildew. The next time I vacation in summer I will try aqua cones on some critical plants. I use watering cans for my container plants, to avoid chemical buildup in soil that cannot completely leach. I let the water sit overnight before using it so the chlorine in my city water dissipates first. As for rainfall–I water before it rains. Yes! The reason being it increases the amount of available water plant roots can absorb. It works for me!

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We are an employee-owned company of avid gardeners, located in Burlington, VT.