Plants need water. It’s a basic truth and one that means a gardener’s work is never truly done, especially in those hot summer months when it can seem like you’re constantly working to keep your plants wet and happy. While you can’t do away with watering altogether, there are some simple steps you can take to make the whole process a lot easier on you and your garden.
Here are our top 5 tips:
1. Mulch – Mulching is maybe the simplest and most effective way to lighten your watering load and make your plants happier. Mulch comes in all shapes and sizes, from the expensive store-bought stuff to fallen leaves and cut grass in your own yard. The whole point is to provide a barrier between the hot sun and your precious soil. Putting down a couple inches of mulch around your plants will slow evaporation and keep the soil (and the plant’s roots) cooler and moister.
2. Water the base of the plant – Most plants in your garden are low to the ground, and because of that you’re probably used to dumping water on top of them, leaves and all. It’s how they get rained on, isn’t it? It is”¦ but not every day. Routinely getting your plants’ leaves wet can encourage the spread of bugs and disease. It also means less water is getting down to the roots where it’s needed. Water your plants at ground level so the roots get a good soaking and the leaves stay high and dry.
3. Water early in the morning – This is another good way to keep disease from spreading across wet leaves. If you do get your plant wet, the early morning sun will dry that water quickly without scorching the leaves the way the afternoon sun would.
4. Group plants by water needs – All plants need some water, but just how much can vary. Lavender likes to be kept dry, while hydrangeas like water so much they have “hydra” in their name. Plant the two of them close together and at least one of them is going to be unhappy. If you lay out your garden so plants with similar water needs are next to each other, you can water without fear. To make things easier on yourself, put thirsty plants closest to your water source – they’ll soak up drips and spills and save you a lot of walking.
5. Use a drip or soaker hose – Drip and soaker hoses are awesome – no buts about it. They’re perforated or permeable hoses that you can run throughout your garden close to the bases of all your plants. Just screw the hose into the faucet, turn it on, and let the watering happen. Your leaves stay dry, your loss to evaporation is nil, and your back gets a break from carting around all those watering cans.