14 Smart & Efficient Ways to Water Your Garden

While April and May usually bring spring showers, the summer can be much more hot and dry. That’s great beach weather, but those conditions can take a pretty serious toll on your garden. Most vegetables and bushes need regular infusions of water to stay alive and produce food.

It’s easy to waste water, though. Hoses and faucets leak. Sprinklers spray water all over the place, rather than deliver it just to the plant. You may forget you’ve turned the sprinkler on and then completely overwater.

Here are some of the best, smartest ways to water your garden without wasting a lot of H2O.

1. Check your sprinkler and hoses.

“A leak as small as the tip of a ballpoint pen can waste 6,300 gallons of water,” says the U.S. EPA’s Watersense program. “Check your sprinkler this spring!”

2. Let it drip.

Not your faucet. A drip irrigation system, which delivers water directly to the bottom of the plant so it can easily seep into the ground and moisten the roots. Though landscaping companies can install snazzy systems, you can also set one up yourself less inexpensively. Take a look at what Dripworks has to offer, for starters.

3. Use a timer.

If you want to set up your sprinkler and then go about your daily routine, use a timer to automatically turn the water off after a certain amount of time.

4. Can it.

A watering can or pitcher can be the perfect way to water newly planted seeds and seedlings. Using a pitcher, you can deliver the right amount of water to each seedling. Gently sprinkle water overhead to moisten the soil.

5. Try a rain barrel.

Set up a rain barrel next to a shed, garage, or your home, and capture rain water coming off the roof. You can set up a rain barrel on each corner of the building if you want. Use the spigot on the bottom of the barrel to drain water into a watering can, or attach a hose. Rain barrels come in handy when rainfall is scarce and you don’t want to use your home water source to keep your garden alive.

6. Use your cooking water.

If you steam or boil vegetables, use the nutrient-rich water after it’s cooled to nourish your plants.

7. Reuse fish tank water.

Do you have a pet fish whose tank you empty? That water will be full of nitrogen and phosphorous, great for some plants.

8. Water early in the morning and when it’s not windy.

Give water a chance to seep into the ground rather than evaporate in the hot sun or blow away from the plants that need it.

9. Mulch.

A two-inch thick covering of shredded pine bark, composted leaves, or other organic materials will help the ground retain water and reduce evaporation.

10. Use worms.

“Vermicomposting” is the process of using worm castings (poop) to increase the organic content of the soil, which will help it retain moisture.

11. Dig in some compost.

Like worm poop, well-decomposed organic compost helps the soil stay loose and retain moisture, which is great for plant roots.

12. Xeriscape.

Plant flowers, vegetables, and bushes that do well in the amount of rainfall that falls in your region in an average year. Once established, these plants should require little additional water. Here are some sources for regionally-appropriate plants to choose from.

13. Group plants according to their water needs.

For example, impatience need a lot of water; hostas, not so much. Make a beautiful color statement by grouping all of your impatience together, which will make them easier to water with one fell swoop.

14. Reduce slope erosion.

If you have hills or steep banks, strategically place boulders or ties to help reduce runoff, or landscape into terraces to stop water from slurrying off the hill rather than seeping into the ground.

The Art of Composting
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Nathan B
Nathan B.1 years ago

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Rebecca Gouge
Rebecca Gouge2 years ago

Thank you!

Jeffrey Stanley
Jeff S2 years ago


Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 years ago

thanks for the article.

Sonia Minwer Barakat Requ

Good article with helpful tips.Thanks for sharing

Cat L.
Cat H2 years ago

Thanks for sharing!

Elaine W.
Past Member 2 years ago

Noted and thanks.

Donna T.
Donna T2 years ago

thank you