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in Tools and techniques
What is the best way to water plants? Sprinkler, watering can, leaky hose? Other?
Seems silly but I put the sprinkler on the other day and I was worried it seemed to flatten them down? It was one strong.
I have 4 raised beds, some hostas under trees and a couple of pots, the pots I use a watering can.
The best way is the hardest way (As always!) that is with a watering can filled from a water butt (especially if you are on a watermeter ) I'm sure others have their own ideas which I will be interested to hear about.
It really depends on the size of your plot and how much free time you have. A smallish garden can be kept adequately moist with the drip system. Watering by hose or can takes an amazingly long time and unless you are retired you will probably want to be doing other things, such as earning a living. If you have kids you can pay them by the canful, though they will need to be guided. Early morning and late evening are best as the sun doesn't dry up your efforts.
You obviously live somewhere sunny - no need for watering round our way!
If you were in the desert and had a raging thirst would you rather run around , with your mouth open, trying to catch raindrops, or would you rather lie under a running tap? Plants do best with a good drink now and then rather than be sprinkled over. There are obviously exceptions to this rule but in general it works.
In my view, unless it is the first season of planting, watering plants in the ground is not required, unless the weather is exceptionally dry (rarity in British climes, so it seems). If you need to water after the first season, it sounds like you got the wrong plant in the wrong soil and/or location, or you've not prepared the soil to retain moisture or encourage root growth, both of which help to eliminate the need to water.
Not watering plants, encourages plant roots to seek out moisture deeper into the soil, and stops plants putting roots near the surface which makes the plant more susceptible to dry conditions. The only thing I now water (using water stored in water butts, not clean expensive tap water), is my pots and even those I do sparingly to prevent too much sappy growth which requires even more water. When I plant, I dig a whole twice the size I need, and throw in old compost and well rotted manure, both of which help retain moisture. I also throw in a large handful of blood, fish and bonemeal to encourage good root growth. Works for me.
They are all new plants planted recently in newly built beds, hence the need to water, we haven't had much rain since they went in!
I watered each one individually last night, took ages but worth it hopefully!
You did well to water them individually, O'dog. Also don't be lulled into a sense of false security at this time of year when it rains. It does very little good, and you will still need to water.
I do this mainly with veg, thoght appreciate it might not look great in an ornamental border.
I cut off the bottoms of 1 or 2 litre plastic fizzy drink bottles, take off the cap and wiggle the neck into the ground right by the plants. Then you can water directly into this makeshift funnel, ensuring the water goes straight to the roots rather than shallowly soaking the surface of the soil. I do all my watering with cans from the various butts I've got around the place, and this way, you don't need the sprinkler rose on the can.
For containers, I often full a big trug full of water (again from the butts), and add the correct amount of lquid seaweed feed or tomorite, and submerge the pots until the bubbles stop rising. I drain them in another butt, so that excess feed can be reused rather than dribbling away from the bottom of the pots.
Tim, you obviously don't have soil like mine. We have sandy soil which requires watering every day. Everything that goes on my soil goes to middle earth in a matter of days including compost from my compost heap.