Watering Equipment for the Garden
If you're not plagued with hose pipe bans each summer, then this method of watering gives you the option to take the water source with you as you move round the garden. In it’s simplest form, the garden hose can be used on its own or fitted with a selection of attachments to assist with a variety of watering tasks. The lawn sprinkler is one such attachment that really comes into it’s own during prolonged dry summer periods and is essential when laying turf and for maintaining a healthy lawn during a dry spell.
Garden hose pipe itself comes in a few different flavours. The cheapest pipe from the local market will most likely kink easily and be prone to puncture. Look for something from a brand name like Hozelock or Gardena; it will outlast the cheaper hose and save you a lot irritation.
Make sure you order sufficient hose to reach all parts of your garden via the actual routes you take reach them. The correct length will save you having to stretch the hose across flower beds and other obstructions.
Storage options for hose pipe are numerous and varied. Wall mounted reels are a good choice if you don’t like clutter and wheeled reels are handy for transportation and storing the hose out of the way.
Weeping soaker hose
Weeping hose (or soaker hose) ‘weeps’ water along its entire length delivering the water where it is needed. Weeping hose can be laid on the surface or buried permanently in the soil to reduce water evaporation. For any garden, weeping hose offers an easy solution to watering with the added benefit of not leaving any shrubs or plants thirsty. The hose can be run in straight lines or snaked around the beds. This method is also very useful for greenhouse gardening.
Gravity fed watering systems
These simple, gravity watering systems do not require a mains water supply at all and operate using gravity to deliver the water to the plants. Various systems are available that connect to a water butt, or are fed from either a plastic reservoir bag or rigid container. The water simply drips slowly wherever it is needed. Can also be used for houseplants. Very simple, very versatile and good value for money.
Mains fed drip and spray watering systems
These systems offer even more versatility than the gravity fed systems. Being connected to the mains allows an uninterrupted water supply. A selection of delivery methods are offered with these systems including drip, spray, sprinkler and mist attachments. Mains fed systems are the most popular choice because of the huge range of options and versatility they offer the gardener. These systems offer the best option for large gardens. Gardena produce an excellent range of mains fed systems and one of the best selections is available at Two Wests & Elliot.
Automatic and timed watering systems
Timers allow you to automate the watering system in your garden. They are essentially valves that can be set to open and close at specific times. These systems offer a simple solution to watering should you go away on holiday. Simple units use a twist dial to set watering times and durations whilst more advanced models have programmable digital displays.
For added automation, moisture sensors can be integrated into some systems to trigger the start of watering depending on the moisture content of the soil. Also available are automatic watering systems designed for pots
Conserving the moisture in the soil
The best way to lock moisture in the soil and reduce evaporation is to apply an organic mulch (such as shredded green waste or wood chips) to your beds and borders. If you have a garden shredder, you can use your own home made mulch made from garden waste. Leaves that have been shredded with a lawn mower also make an acceptable garden mulch. Mulch also helps prevent the spread of weeds by blocking out the sunlight available and preventing germination. An ideal covering is between 2 and 3 inches in thickness.
There are certain plants that need watering more than others during a dry spell, so rather than soaking the whole garden, concentrate on any newly planted specimens and small shallow rooted plants first. Larger established plants will have root systems capable of drawing upon moisture deeper in the soil. Plants in containers and pots will also require frequent attention because during a dry spell the only water they get is the water you give them.
When giving your plants water, it is better to provide plenty in one go rather than small amounts regularly. Regular light watering gives rise to shallow root systems which means the plants may become more susceptible to drought. The same principle applies to watering your lawn.