The conventional way of watering your garden plants is by using a hose. While this appears convenient and practical, what if using a hose isn’t an option?
There could be a scenario where your hose isn’t long enough to reach your plants. Even if it is long enough, you may not have a water faucet to connect to.
Also, with water scarcity slowly becoming a major problem in the US, water conservation is the need of the hour. You could employ DIY techniques to keep your garden moist and use less water.
Thankfully these techniques do not involve using a garden hose.
Let’s get down to them, but first, we must highlight the demerits of using a hose.
Why Shouldn’t You Water Your Garden With A Hose?
Here are some cons of using a hose to water your garden. While it may sound stupid at first, there are real problems associated with this method that you could be overlooking.
1. Hose Encourages Weed Growth
Using hose results in blanket watering, which encourages weed growth and wastes lots of water during a dry season.
On the flip side, direct watering targeted towards plant roots helps conserve water.
2. Different Plants Have Unique Watering Requirements
With a hose at your disposal, the easiest thing to do is flood all garden plants at once.
However, it would be better first to study your plants’ requirements and know when they are under water stress.
Some plants require watering daily, while some can go for weeks without it.
Having this knowledge in mind gives you more reason to water the plants selectively without using a hose.
3. Deep Root System Formation In Garden Plants
The only way to ensure deep root formation in your garden plants is through miserly watering.
During planting, plants require much water because of the need to establish.
After establishment, you want to maintain a frugal watering regime that only provides them with enough water to stay alive.
Overwatering your plant at the early stages of growth only encourages the roots to dwell at the surface.
Minimal and staggered watering encourages the plant roots to move deep into the ground in search of moisture.
4. Water Wastage
A hosepipe in your hands gives you more reason to water your garden without much thought about conserving water. You are also less likely to invest in water-saving systems.
5. Potential Contamination Of Water Sources
Overwatering your plants with a hose leads to fertilizer and pesticide runoff to the underground water table and nearby water sources such as lakes and ponds.
This can lead to algae blooms, disrupting aquatic life and causing long-term contamination.
How To Meet The Water Requirements of Your Garden Without A Hose?
How could you possibly meet the watering requirements of your garden without the need for a hose? Here are forward-moving tips you will find useful.
1. Plant Drought Resistant / Tolerant Plants
Planting native drought-resistant plants is the easiest way to avoid using a hose. Common easy to grow plants of this category include:
Whether in hot summer or scarce water, herbs will do well without heavy watering. Some herbs to plant include thyme and lavender.
Another option for you is the rose plant. It has fewer water requirements and doesn’t succumb to drought. However, it is likely to flower less.
Alpines And Succulents
Alpines and succulents have an adaptation that makes it possible to store water in gel-like centers. This makes them stand tall throughout the drought season.
Pelargoniums are flowering perennials that fall into multiple categories, such as succulents and shrubs, with minimal watering requirements. They are easy to maintain once established.
Silver lead or hairy plants
Silver lead plants are known to conserve moisture. Some examples include Dusty Miller and Echeveria.
2. Apply Mulch
Another technique to keep your garden plants moist without watering is using mulch. Preferably, you should use organic types that easily decompose with time.
This helps in improving the soil structure. If you don’t have natural mulch sources, you could purchase some from other gardens near you or a local store.
Spread it evenly around plants and borders. The soil under mulch remains moist longer than bare soil. However, if the summer is quite long, a little watering may be worth it.
3. Use Watering Cans
If you are looking for an alternative to a hosepipe, a Watering Can serves you right.
Have more than one watering can around to keep yourself on the go by alternating them between refills. If watering large plants, direct the water flow from the spout towards the roots.
The advantage of using a watering can is that you get as close as possible to the plant enabling you to scout for pests and diseases. Additionally, you can spray liquid fertilizer with water, saving yourself time.
4. Harvest Rain Water
If you have never harvested rainwater, you may want to invest in rain gutter downspouts that help collect water in tanks and barrels. Once captured, you can reuse the water for gardening and other domestic purposes.
5. Plant Container Gardens
With container gardens, over-watering your plants becomes less of a problem. Ideally, you should add a dish under the container to hold the water that percolates through it.
This helps provide your plants with a small reservoir during off-watering periods.
Only use this technique on plants that can withstand standing water.
6. Use Planting Mediums That Retain Water Longer
Heard of vermiculite? If you are tired of the endless watering trips and the hose is also not an option for you, we advise using water retaining planting mediums such as vermiculite.
The planting material is silicate-based and is known to be absorbent and spongy. It is pH neutral at 7.0 and behaves more or less like an alkaline.
Vermiculite is typically golden brown to dark brown, making novice gardeners confuse it with other potting mixtures. Adding water makes it expand, taking the shape of and resembling an inflated sponge.
Use vermiculite with plants that love a wet environment. Mixing it with peat and compost is recommended for best results.
7. Use A Drip Irrigation System
Another idea you could explore is using a drip irrigation system. Combine it with your rain barrels and use gravity for a truly energy-efficient model.
You could also use precise timers to water the plants with a set volume at the set time.
8. Recycle Grey Water
You can also make better use of greywater by channeling it to your garden. Greywater is the water from your bathroom sinks, tubs, showers, and washing machines.
Greywater is considered safer than black water from toilets. However, check the legislation affecting the greywater system installation in your area to avoid getting in trouble with the law.
9. Use Plastic Bottles As Reservoirs
You can get creative with plastic bottles for water-thirsty container plants that require a constant water supply. You can cut the bottle into half for easy filling or leave the bottle in its original form.
Create a hole on the bottle top and immerse it upside down into the soil.
Water gradually flows into the soil owing to the pressure exerted by the trapped air in the bottle. This pressure increases further with temperature.
10. Maintain Your Sprinkler Heads Regularly
You could be wasting water due to faulty sprinkler heads. It could be falling on pavements, sidewalks, or driveways.
You want to perform some routine checks on your sprinkler heads to ensure they only water your plants and nothing else.
There are multiple DIY techniques on a budget that could make your garden plants taut and bubbling all year round.
Additionally, ensure to plant drought-tolerant plants that can withstand prolonged dry periods.