Watering a Vegetable Garden

Irrigating a Vegetable Garden
Leaky-pipe, or soaker-hose, irrigation lets water slowly permeate the soil.
Leaky-pipe, or soaker-hose, irrigation lets water slowly permeate the soil.

Irrigation is a good way to make sure your vegetable plants get the water they need. Leaky-pipe irrigation and trickle, or drip, irrigation are two good methods.

Leaky-pipe Irrigation

Overhead watering is most commonly used, but it wastes water because of excessive evaporation and it encourages diseases to settle on the wet foliage. Controlled watering eliminates waste and supplies water to garden plants where they need it -- at the base of the plants. Leaky-pipe, or soaker hose, is made of recycled rubber and is as flexible as an ordinary garden hose. Equipped with a female coupling on one end to attach to a water spigot, and a male coupling on the other end to cap off or attach another length of pipe, the soaker hose allows water to slowly permeate the soil. Arrange the soaker hose at the base of the plants in the row; water is then distributed evenly over the roots of the plants.

Trickle, or drip, irrigation wastes less water than other types of irrigation.

Trickle Irrigation

Also known as drip irrigation, trickle irrigation saves water. This is a good way to water vegetables that are spaced far apart as well as container gardens on a deck or terrace. Mini-tubes are inserted into holes in the main line at intervals to suit the gardener's needs. Weighted tips at the end of each mini-tube are placed at the base of each plant. Water is dispersed at low pressure wherever the tubes are placed. Kits for trickle systems are available at garden centers and through garden suppliers.

Measuring rainfall can give you a better idea of how much you need to water your vegetable garden. Keep reading to learn about measuring precipitation.

Want more information about vegetable gardens? Visit these links:

  • Caring for a Vegetable Garden: Read our guide to nurturing your vegetable plants for the best harvest.
  • Vegetable Gardens: Find out everything you wanted to know about vegetable gardening.
  • Vegetables: Pick out your favorite vegetables to plant in next year's garden.
  • Gardening: We answer all of your general gardening questions in this section.
  • Garden Care: Whether you're growing cucumbers or columbines, we have all the information you need to nurture a thriving garden.