The Best Way to Water Your Vegetable Garden
Water is one of the most critical elements of a vibrant and healthy home garden. Yet, it is often one of the most mismanaged and misunderstood. Most people consider the watering of their garden as the act of dosing plants and topsoil with a hose or watering can at relatively regular intervals.
And sure, that sounds simple enough.
What is not apparent in this oversimplification is that most gardens will fail because of this one simple aspect. Every detail in the when and how your garden is watered will dramatically affect if your garden quickly dies, just survives or abundantly thrives. You can have every part of your garden perfectly set up with the best design and inputs. Still, if you get the watering wrong, it will never be everything it could have been.
This is why we have entirely removed every risk and variable from the watering of our garden. We have learnt the hard way and over many years that watering is just system critical. A missed day, too much or too little watering, or even ineffective watering are so incredibly detrimental to your garden's performance that it cannot be left to chance. Because of this, we have invested heavily in a state-of-the-art automated irrigation system for our Smart veggie patch.
Now, I know people reading this will be thinking, "well, I don't have an irrigation system, and my garden is fine", and I am sure it is. But they do not know just how incredible their garden would be if they had one! They would have healthier plants, bigger yields, less disease, save time, save water, increase their produce's nutritional value, and enjoy larger microbial and worm populations.
I think you get the picture.
Now I have had friends and people who are avid gardens completely dismiss me when I suggest they consider an irrigation system. I am often met with comments like 'but I love watering' or 'I would just prefer to do it myself', and I get that. Watering a garden is amazingly therapeutic, and I am not suggesting that you don't water your garden if you want to. Still, an irrigation system will improve your garden immensely because of one simple fact. It waters your garden better than you can.
So, the question becomes, is your therapeutic need to water the priority or is the health and performance of your garden? An irrigation system is never one minute late when it waters your garden. Same time (or times) every single day. It is never an hour late or misses a day (or two). It also delivers the same amount of water to precisely the same place every day (you try doing that!).
Best of all, your plants LOVE THIS!
Your plants have many processes to protect them from everything from overwatering to underwatering. These processes take energy away from other processes like growing larger leaves or bearing more fruit. If you miss a day or two of watering, your plants have gone into defence mode and used energy to maintain their moisture levels. Guiltily, when you get around to watering your garden, it takes them a few days to stop those processes and signal that a lack of water is now not an issue. Suppose that a four-day diversion of growth energy to water conservation energy happens several times over the plant's life cycle. In that case, your plants have missed several days and possibly weeks of growth energy that would have produced more food for you.
Did the plant die? Probably not. Is it the very best expression of its ultimate potential? Absolutely not!
It is that ultimate expression of a plant's potential that we are constantly driving for in a Smart veggie patch. That is how we get more food with less effort and time. An irrigation system is just a vitally important piece to achieving that.
We also suggest you use a compensated drip line system that will deliver the water to the root system of your plants. If you can imagine a cross-section of your garden bed, the drip system will wet a large, drop-shaped watering pattern in the soil. Young plant roots will reach this water supply and build more robust and complex root systems—the more complex the root system, the more nutrient uptake available to the plants.
I really could write another book about the importance of irrigation systems. They offer such a myriad of benefits to you and your garden that it is incredible. If you spend the time and money getting a good one, it will be one of the best investments you will ever make in your future food security.
I appreciate it is a reasonably complex concept, and there are some pitfalls you must watch out for, like potentially cancer-causing irrigation parts and equipment. Please post questions or comment below on something you would like answered, and I will get back to you. Or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
So, that covers a bit about watering your garden. Hopefully, I have put a strong case forward or given you some food for thought about irrigation systems in general.
So until next our next blog…
About The Author
Terry Memory is the author of "The Smart Veggie Patch" which will be available through Pan Macmillan in July 2022. He lives with his wife Gemma, and their six kids live on a forty-acre organic farm in the Huon Valley in southern Tasmania, Australia. Terry and Gemma produce most of their food requirements for their family with a two hundred square meter Protected and Controlled Environment garden that also thermally heats their home. As a successful health food entrepreneur, Terry co-founded the 13 Seeds Hemp Food and Tasmanian Tea Companies on his farm. Terry is a passionate sustainability and self-sufficiency advocate with over twenty years of practical experience.
TAGS: Veggie Patch, Vegetable Garden, Raised Garden Beds, Growing Your Own Food, Self-Sufficiency, Sustainability, Homegrown, Homesteading, Off-Grid, Organic Food, Backyard Garden, Community Garden, Urban Garden