To have a beautiful garden and enjoy its crops throughout the year or to be able to admire its flowering plants in abundance, it is essential to carry out regular watering, more or less copious depending on the season. Except that if one wishes to act for the sustainable development it is obviously essential to save water without ruining the efforts made to sow, plant, layer… In short, here are the best solutions for watering all plants while reducing water consumption.
Tips and tricks for saving water in the garden
Use rainwater to water your plants
What a great idea to make the most of rainwater! It is enough just to install in the garden a rainwater collector. There are different models, of varying capacities so that each gardener can afford the tank that meets his own needs.
Rainwater has such exceptional qualities that it is the best water for plants. It does not contain limestone or chlorine. In addition, it is temperate, which the plants appreciate. They also draw a little sulfur dioxide and ammonia from it when watering with rainwater collected during a heavy storm. They are essential components for the fertilization of the soil.
Grow plants that are drought tolerant
Many water-saving plants don’t need much watering. With global warming, we must start turning to these plants because water will end up being sorely lacking. In this category, there is a wide choice whether for the vegetable garden or the pleasure garden.
The products of vegetable garden which resist drought once they have started their development are, for example, shallots, garlic, onions, parsnips, Jerusalem artichokes, beetroot, carrots, thyme, rosemary, etc. pleasure garden, we can opt for stony soil plants and Mediterranean plants. Many species are found in these categories such as Verbena, Eschscholzia or California Poppy, Scotch Broom, Houseleek, Purslane, Sweet Woodruff, Sedum, Ornamental Garlic, Laurel- rose, gaillardia, cacti, succulents and other succulents…
Evening is the best time to water in summer
Plants should be allowed to enjoy the coolness for as long as possible by watering in the evening. This way, the water will not evaporate for several hours. Note that water distributed between 12 and 2 p.m. in summer evaporates at 60 % in a minimum of time. It therefore takes a lot more to water the plants sufficiently and in this way it requires watering every day. However, if you water in the evening between June and the end of August, you can simply take out the hose or the watering can once every 2 or 3 days only.
On the other hand, if the waterings are necessary during periods of night cooling (in spring and autumn), they must be carried out in the morning and not in the evening.
Biner to better drain the water
It is often said that a good hoeing is worth two waterings and this is logical since the penetration of water to the roots of the plants is thus improved, the soil being loosened. It is therefore possible to reduce water consumption in the garden of the order of 50 % while playing the hoe. At the price of a cubic meter of water, this represents several tens of euros in savings in one year for a vegetable garden. The icing on the cake, hoeing also eliminates unwanted weeds. We therefore obtain abundant harvests and the garden is perfectly maintained.
Install a mulch at the foot of the plants
The mulch acts as a screen, protecting the soil from direct sunlight. This greatly reduces the evaporation process, especially during hot weather. By maintaining soil moisture, mulching allows less watering. In addition to saving water, we can at the same time slow down the development of weeds. It remains to choose a organic mulch rather than a plastic mulch, as it brings nutrients into the soil which will benefit the plants.
Water copiously but less often
It is illusory to take care of your vegetables and ornamental plants by simply wetting the soil slightly every day. This method ends up being time-consuming, especially if the hose has to be unrolled and rolled up each session, but worse still, it is not enough to meet the water needs of the plants. In this way, we water almost for nothing and the waste is therefore enormous!
To save water while having healthy plants, it is highly preferable to water well so that they receive a good amount of water but only every 4 or 5 days, and without wetting the foliage in order to limit the risk of cryptogamic diseases. The ideal is to wet only at the foot of the plants.
Watch the daily weather report
Why water your garden when a good rain is announced? It is totally unnecessary and represents an expense that could have been avoided. Moreover, when watering is combined with rain, this amounts to overwatering your garden. This is obviously a false good idea. The plants will not grow better, on the contrary: they risk suffering because an excess of humidity causes the roots to rot, favors the invasion of certain parasites and countless diseases.
Drip and micro-sprinkler for reasoned irrigation
Whatever the size of your garden, you should always think about wasting as little water as possible without harming the health of the crops. To do this, we avoid embarking on the first irrigation system that comes without having taken the time to study the specificities of each one. Some are very sophisticated, expensive but do not allow the use of reasoned watering. Without necessarily spending a fortune, you can have the best watering system without seeing your plants die of thirst.
All categories combined, two irrigation systems share the best places in the ranking, namely: the drip and the micro-sprinkler device.
The drip irrigation system
It is a drilled pipe or a water-saving microporous pipe. It regulates the flow of water and distributes this precious liquid evenly, which limits water stress to which many plants are sensitive. All the plants can thus benefit from the quantity of water which is absolutely necessary for them, without more. The roots absorb it directly, so there is less loss through evaporation.
The drop-by-drop has other advantages: it distributes the water at low pressure, which does not risk attacking the plantations. It does not wet the leaves, an essential condition for preventing many diseases. It allows you to target the plants and areas that you want to water. Thus we can perfectly avoid watering the weeds, soaking the paths or even flooding the terrace since the drip irrigation is localized.
Today, brands specializing in gardening equipment offer different models of drippers, namely:
- The expandable drip kits for watering plants in pots and planters as well as window boxes and pots,
- The garden hoses with integrated drip, perfect for watering plants planted in rows such as hedges and flowerbeds. You can choose from four models: up to 25, 50, 75 and 100 meters.
If a well is used, it is useful to opt for a model with a filter in order to limit the risk of clogging. A filter is not necessary if the drip system is connected to the water distribution network.
The micro-sprinkler device to water your plants
Micro-sprinkler systems come in different models, for small, medium or large areas. They are sometimes classified in the same category as the drip device. It is however appropriate to distinguish between the two since the first sprinkles the plants by distributing fine droplets of water like an extremely fine rain, while the second waters at the foot and does not wet the foliage.
The similarity between these two irrigation systems is the water savings they achieve, one like the other, which is why they are on the rise. However, the micro-sprinkler device can only be suitable for plants that are not sensitive to cryptogamic diseases and do not fear that their foliage gets wet, which can lead to burns in the strong sun. It is therefore more suitable for flowering plants in shady beds and shrubs. For the vegetable garden, it is better to choose a drip. The ideal is to afford both systems, drip and micro-sprinkler.
Watering your plants with a watering can: it’s economical
The watering can is finally the cheapest gardening accessories for watering and yet, it is absolutely essential. You can even own just that and have a beautiful garden (vegetable garden and/or pleasure garden).
With the watering can, you achieve significant water savings because you only water what needs to be. Not a drop is wasted. Without the head, we water at the foot of the plants, and we use the watering can with its head to distribute the water in a fine rain when the situation is right, as is the case with seedlings for example. With a capacity of a dozen liters in general, the garden watering can is sold with its head and can even be accessorized with a watering ramp.
If you have a large enough garden where there are many plants but you don’t have a tap available, you can spare your efforts and save time by buying several watering cans. Once all filled with water, just transport them in the wheelbarrow to water the different areas of the garden.
All responsible gardener should use these different solutions systematically to limit their water consumption and avoid watering unnecessarily. Of course, many winter vegetables such as squash, beets, potatoes and carrots should be stopped irrigating about four weeks before harvest. They will keep better and longer this way. Finally, as an indication, except during periods of long-lasting heat waves or severe drought, 35 to 40 liters of water per square meter per week are sufficient to meet the needs of most plants.