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The Best Watering Systems for Gardens

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Growing your own food can be a great way to reduce the amount of money you spend on groceries every month as well as a built in stress reliever. One thing that is very important for any type of garden, however, is water.

There are many different types of watering systems available for gardens of all types, and it can be difficult to decide which one will work best for your needs. Let’s find a garden watering system that fits your vegetable garden style and space.

The Importance of Consistent Watering

While watering may seem like a no-brainer component of any vegetable garden, it’s often an afterthought for most gardeners. Watering a garden is one of the more tedious chores to undertake, unless you have a good watering system in place.

The benefits of watering consistently go beyond bigger plants. Here’s what a good watering habit can give you:

  • Consistent amount of moisture in the soil (which makes for supple, workable soil instead of rock-hard dirt)
  • Healthier plants that are less likely to get diseases and pests (it’s true… pests thrive on sick plants.)
  • A more even distribution of nutrients throughout your vegetable garden because it will be watered regularly.
  • Fewer weeds, since consistent watering reduces their water needs, which means they can’t grow as well without consistent watering.
  • Larger yields of fruits and vegetables!

Watering Systems for Raised Beds

For raised bed gardens , watering systems can be range from drip irrigation systems to soaker hoses to traditional sprinklers. They all have their benefits and downfalls, but here are my thoughts on having used all three.

A drip irrigation system is the best option in my opinion, as it will deliver water directly to the plants’ root zones and minimize evaporation. Soaker hoses are less precise but they’re easy to install and use less water than other methods. Sprinklers waste more water, and also wet the leaves of the plants, which can lead to some disease.

If a sprinkler is all you have the option for, then certainly check the one I have listed below, since it’s adjustable both in width and distance.

Watering Systems for Row Gardens

For a more traditional row garden, the most common water systems are soaker hoses, hand watering with watering cans, or sprinklers. Soaker hoses are laid on the ground next to the plants and emit a slow stream of water that seeps down to the roots. This is a very efficient way to water, but it can be difficult to keep track of how much water each plant is getting. Watering cans are less precise but they help you to know exactly how much water you’re delivering to your plants.

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As with the raised beds, sprinklers can be utilized in a row garden, but you’ll see more water waste, as well as wet leaves on plants. It’s better than nothing in a pinch, though!

Here are the top rated watering systems for both raised beds and row gardens:

The Best Watering and Irrigation Systems

Garden in Minutes Watering Grid: My absolute top pick! This Better-Than-Drip irrigation grid system can be customized for any sized raised bed garden. The grids also work well if you’re a square foot gardener who is looking for a way to separate your squares. I don’t really use Square Foot Gardening anymore, but I still love this watering system.

It also comes almost fully assembled. My 4×4 grid was in two parts, and I simply had to connect them. Very easy!

better than drip irrigation
Garden in Minutes Better than Drip Irrigation

Rain Bird Drip Irrigation System– Rain Bird is a recognizable name in garden irrigation systems, and while their drip system is more time consuming to set up than the Garden in Minutes grid, it’s also slightly less expensive. Make sure you pay attention to each set, as they have sets for hanging baskets, shrubs, trees, etc.

Raindrip Irrigation System

Soaker Hose– A cost effective option that you’ll also need landscape pins to secure. A soaker hose will slowly seep water into the soil. I like to cover mine with mulch in the summer to retain the moisture in the soil. They come in various lengths and can usually be cut and adjusted.

This soaker hose system comes with everything you need to make it fit your garden space.

Miracle-Gro Soaker System

Gardena Zoom Maxx Adjustable Sprinkler– If you must use a sprinkler for your garden, simply because of cost or your garden is so large and spread out that these other irrigation systems don’t work, I highly recommend the Gardena sprinkler that we got last year. It has multiple adjustment points and includes a timer as well.

You can see my Spring Garden Makeover where I feature the Gardena sprinkler and hose system. (I love the hose, since it has the snap in pieces. This means the hose can be disconnected and moved without you having to turn off the water, then turn it back on once it’s reconnected. I love it!

gardena zoom max sprinkler
Gardena’s Zoom Max Sprinkler in our garden

Behren’s Steel Watering Can– If you’re a bit of a purist, and want to water your plants by hand, then I can only recommend Behren’s Steel Watering Can. Still make in the U.S., I love the amount of water my can holds and the durability since mine lives outdoors year round.

They come in various sizes, so choose the one that’s most appropriate for your watering (and arm strength) needs. Mine is several years old now, and it’s still going strong!

Behren’s Steel Watering Can

The Best Hoses for the Home Garden

Even with an irrigation system like a soaker hose or a drip system, you’ll still need a good quality hose and preferably one that doesn’t kink up. If you want a full review on the best hoses, Popular Mechanics tried out a variety of hoses, and they have all of the details in this article. Here are some top picks for great hoses to use in the garden:

Flexzilla Garden Hose– This good quality garden hose has a swivel grip that keeps the hose from getting kinked up and twisted as you move about the garden. The bright green color also stands out in the yard, if you accidentally forget to move it before mowing.

Gardena Quick Connect Hose– This hose is one I personally own, and the quick connect system has easily become one of my favorite things. It’s incredibly sturdy as well, and I haven’t had any issues with kinks.

Teknor Apex Zero-G– If you’re looking for a light and compact hose, then this Apex Zero-G is the choice for you. It can fully fit into a 5-gallon bucket, and is 50% lighter than a standard garden hose. Perfect for older gardeners, or those with a smaller space.

Zero G Hose from Apex

Hopefully all of these suggestions will help keep your garden well hydrated and thriving. If you’re in need of a hose cart, check out my full review of the Liberty Hose Reel Cart. We’ve had it for several years, and it has really held up well.

Have a great week and happy gardening!

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