The water

by M. Arjoca,

Water lady, Paderborn, GermanyIs another important element in garden. The plants need it for germination, growth, development and for bearing fruits. That’s why the water access in garden must be done installing a more or less complex watering system (pump, hoses with sprayers or sprinklers, underground sprinklers) or just using simple methods like watering cans.

To save water and electricity some people collect rainwater from roofs or use recycling water systems (greywater, blackwater). For example, a can attached to the sink can collect the water used for domestic work (washing the fruits and vegetables etc), but water without detergents, grease and oils. This water can be used then in garden.

In the arid areas or where the rains are not often, collecting and recycling the water can be very useful for gardens. The mulch can be used for keeping the moisture in such areas, so the ground will be covered with bark chips, stones, straw etc.

Rainwater collection in barrelIf you live in an arid region and don’t have full access to water you can have a garden with plants resistant to high temperatures and drought. The succulents and cacti are adapted to such conditions and their leaves, stalks and roots are water reservoirs.

The growth stage of plants is also important when you water them. It is better to use a water can or a hose with a fine sprinkler head when you water beds with sowed seeds or with seedlings because a strong stream of water can move them away or pull them out. Also it is better to water the soil from pots before you sow seeds in them.

You can use different methods to water the beds with well developed or mature plants. There can be used hoses with sprinkler heads or just with a single stream, water cans, sprinklers, automatic systems etc.

If the garden is a lawn you can use sprinklers, if it's a container garden water cans are efficient. If you live in an arid area and you can afford it, underground watering systems are very good.

When you need to know how much water must be used and how often, then you take into account more aspects.

First of all „keep the balance“ suits this situation too. Too much or too less water has the same result: the suffering or the death of plants. In both cases the symptoms are the same: the leaves and flowers turn yellow and wilt. Plus there are plants which need much water (tomatoes, onion, mint etc) and there are plants which prefer dry soils (cacti). Too less water causes the drying of plants and too much water causes their decay. That’s way if you use containers they must have holes on the bottom for letting the water flow.

Very important for the water retention and absorption and also for the water surplus drainage is the soil structure. For example, sandy soils don’t keep too well the water and the clay soils don’t let it pass through. A good soil is fertile, aerated, not too sandy or too clay. An alternative solution to unsuitable soils are the raised beds where the water drainage is well done.

The water quantity must be uniform distributed on the ground so check if there are sloping areas because the water tends to flow and accumulates on the lowest side. A sloppy garden is a fertile land for diseases and pests.

Some plants have surface roots (lettuce) and others have deep roots (tomatoes), so the watering must be done efficiently, at all levels.

watering methodsYou can make ditches between the rows of plants and fill them with water or make around the bigger plants (a tree for example) a circle with an edge, like a bowl and pour water in it.

You can also flood the garden if the area is flat and let the soil absorb the water.

The next watering must be done when the soil is dry. It's not good to keep the soil permanently wet because the water surplus don’t let the air pass through and the roots rot.

The seeds and the seedlings need a larger quantity of water to germinate or to grow than mature plants. Also in the season when they bear fruits the plants need a lot of water.

Another aspect is the climate of the area. If it's an arid or drought area the watering must be done often and with much more quantity of water. If the area is rainy and humid the watering must be done not too often and with less water. When the rains are very strong and accompanied by winds you can protect your plants using different protective sheets which are permeable to light and/or to air.

In the summer months when the temperatures are higher the watering must be done more often than in spring and autumn and must be done in the morning or in the evening.