Have a good way to water your garden?

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I homestead in a small yard in New Mexico. My gardens are small, irregularly shaped areas in between trees, beside the sidewalk, next to the fence. We have to water daily here, but I have yet to find an ideal way to do it. I have tried soaker hoses under plastic, but the hard water clogs the pores. Also, drip systems seem to break and develop leaks too easily. Both have been less than ideal during the early seedling stages. The kind of sprinkler that sweeps from one side to the other waters more area than I want and puddles on both ends. I'm a single mom and work all day in town, so I need to be able to put the system on a timer. Any suggestions? thanks.

-- Lynne (Lynnie70@juno.com), October 05, 2000


Tough situation! In my garden, I'm lucky enough to have most of it in one large traditional rectangle, so I just mulch heavily all year, and use drip hoses or a pair of sprinkers I've mounted on fence posts. In your situation, I'd mulch real heavily, then maybe look into those gizmos where you screw them onto 2 liter soda bottles and push them into the earth between plants. Could just cut a hole in the bottom of the bottles and leave them in place and refill them when needed. Come to think of it, I don't see why you couldn't even make something similar yourself. Drill out the cap and insert some sort of tube that you've drilled a whole mess of 1/16" holes in, reattach the cap to the bottle (with a fill hole cut in the bottom) and bury the thing so it would stay in place against the wind or small feet (kids / critters).

-- Eric in TN (ems@nac.net), October 05, 2000.

One year I grew a lot of tomatoes, and didn't have time to be watering them all the time, so sunk a gal. plastic jug with the bottom cut out between each plant. I had only to fill the jugs with water about every 4 days to keep the plants well watered. This system may work for you with small areas of garden, as it puts enough water down deep enough in the soil to last longer than a day.

-- Hazel in WA (hazelm@tenforward.com), October 06, 2000.

I have used the gallon jugs too, but instead of cutting out the bottoms and sinking them, I just poked several pinholes in a grouping near the bottom, filled the jugs, and set them on the ground with the group of holes pointed toward the plant I wanted to water. I tried poking holes right at the bottom, but if any tiny thing got into the jug, guess where it went? Right, the bottom, and it plugged up my pinholes. So this way I can't use the bottom inch or so of water, but the rest DOES come out when I need it to and my plants don't die.

Also, mulch, mulch, mulch! It really helps keep the ground moist for long periods.

-- Laura Jensen (lauraj@seedlaw.com), October 09, 2000.

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