Methods for Watering Vegetable Gardens and Flower Beds

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Are you watering your vegetable or annual flower garden enough? On average, most plants need 1 inch of water per week. Some plants may need even more water during flowering or when fruits are developing. If you are not watering enough, and more importantly, using the best method, your garden or flower beds may be suffering for it.

Watering Methods

Watering by Sprinkler or By Hand

When it comes to watering the garden, you might water over top regularly with a sprinkler nozzle or overhead sprinkler irrigation. These are usually the easiest ways to water the garden, but these methods also are the worst methods for plants. This is because any water that gets on the leaves and flowers will promote disease development. Hand watering or using sprinklers also wastes much of the water going out into the garden as it runs-off. Plants just don’t take up most of the water. If watering by hand, most gardeners do not have the patience to water correctly and will often water unevenly by hand. However, watering over the top by hand or with sprinkler systems is better than not watering at all in most cases.

Using Soaker Hoses

Using soaker hoses to water gardens or annual flower beds is not the most highly recommended method, but it is a much better method than watering by hand or over the top of plants. Soaker hoses are readily available at most garden supply stores. However, most of the water is usually wasted as soaker hoses do not emit water slow enough. Much of the water is lost to evaporation or to run-off.

Drip Irrigation

Using drip irrigation is the best method to water a vegetable garden or flowers bed. Nowadays, drip irrigation systems are readily available from many garden supply stores. Specialty systems for raised beds can be purchased through online stores. Many companies will have home garden irrigation specialists that can help design a system specifically for a garden or flower bed. It is also very easy to equip irrigation systems with fertilizer injectors. The garden can be easily irrigated, and nutrients added at the same time. These systems can even be used to add liquid fish emulsion or liquid organic fertilizers to a garden or flower bed.

Whichever system you use, you may want to consider irrigating on a regular basis this time of year. We have had a very dry June and more than likely your vegetable and annual flower gardens have not been getting enough water. If you have any questions about watering your garden or flower bed, or if you would like assistance finding an irrigation system for your garden or flower bed, feel free to contact David Davis ( by email or call N.C. Cooperative Extension of Yancey County at (828) 682-6186.