- You can tap every downspout around your house for maximum water yield or, if you prefer, just use the downspouts in the private parts of the landscape, the back and side yards.
Spray heads make quick work
of watering a garden with a hose
- Stretch soaker hoses through the garden to provide water directly on plant roots. Soaker hoses are made of water-permeable fabrics, perforated recycled rubber, or other porous materials. When attached to a hose with the water turned on low or medium, moisture droplets weep out along the length of the hose. Very little evaporates and none sprays on plant foliage, helping discourage diseases. But it may take an hour or more to moisten nearby areas of the garden thoroughly.
Soaker hoses require a little special attention in order to work properly. Here are some hints:
1) Run soaker hoses straight through the garden. If set to turn or curve too sharply, they will kink and won't fill with water.
2) Expect more water to be released from the end closest to the hose and less to be released from the far end.
3) If the hose is moistening only one side of a plant root system, move the hose to water the dry side before you consider the job done.
4) To determine if the soil has been watered enough, dig into the soil beside the hose. If the water has seeped 12 inches down, it's about time to turn the hose off. Remember how long this took for the next time around.
5) For faster results, look for flat hoses that are peppered with small holes. Of course there's a trade-off: These hoses do provide water more quickly, but they are not as gentle on the soil.
6) If you like soaker hose results, you can upgrade to permanent or semi-permanent drip irrigation systems. Although more expensive, these systems are custom designed for varying soil types and individual plant water needs. They also don't require shuffling around the garden..
Or, look for spray heads developed specifically for garden use. Some are set on angled bases, making it easy to reach in between plants. Others are on long poles for watering hanging baskets.
Water breakers should be put on watering cans, too, especially when watering young plants such as seedlings, which can be broken or uprooted with a strong drenching.
Turning on a garden hose isn't the only -- or necessarily the best -- way to water your garden. Check out the next section for tips on alternative water sources.
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