overhead watering

I know. It’s the middle of winter. I’m writing about watering. The words freeze to the screen before they’re typed. Garden blogs in winter are brutal.

One thing that sort of confounds me is that so many gardening information sources advise against overhead watering. I get the reasoning…wet leaves are supposed to invite disease. But somehow this strikes me as garden worry-mongering.

It’s good to step back and involve logic sometimes. Does nature not overhead-water every plant growing in the earth? I’m sure you’ve also had this thought if you garden, but sometimes the voices of the Internet can be loud and overbearing.

I’ve tried soaker hoses. They’re a pain. Haven’t tried drip irrigation, and I don’t mean to offend anyone who’s invested in it. I’m sure it’s great. But for me anyway, it seems like overkill.

Overhead watering, if done properly and conscientiously, won’t sink your garden in a pit of despair and fungus. It’s no different than rain, except you choose the time and duration; both pretty important choices.

I overhead-water only in the morning when the leaves are already wet with dew anyway. The plants only get water when they need it (I can’t quantify that…maybe read a better blog for answers). I always run the sprinklers to soak the soil well, an hour and a half to two hours each. I rely mostly on two T-post sprinklers spaced to cover the garden.

If it’s been dry and I don’t have three or four hours, I head out with a hose set to a gentle cylinder on the spray head and hand water (making sure not to wet the tomato leaves, and never in the middle of the day).

Lest I get Garden-PC-policed, I’ll mention that the water we use is from a well less than a hundred feet from the garden. We don’t exhaust anyone else’s supply (we’ll be the ones to suffer for overzealous use; the well will go dry) and we don’t have to pay for it. I guess the excess water even eventually ends up back in the well.

A lot of folks don’t have that luxury, in which case, they’ve just wasted time that they’ll never get back.

Now a deft return to the premise.

Overhead watering. I use it carefully, it works for me, and that’s all.

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11 thoughts on “overhead watering

  1. We water our vegetables from our well using sprinklers too. I had the same reaction as you to the no-overhead-watering advice: What about rain? I understand why sprinklers are wasteful of water in a dry climate but that is not our situation. We are in a temperate and abundantly rained upon part of the world. Our vegetable garden is in a wind-sheltered valley, I water in the early morning. I like succulent vegetables and I do not want my vegetable plants to be set back by a spell of hot, dry weather. Once the ornamental plantings are established, they are on their own. Overhead sprinklers that I can move around with ease and set up anew each spring are by far the easiest way to get water to the vegetables.

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  2. I have to agree that talking about gardening in the winter is hard that is why my posts are all over the place on topics, although seed catalogs are a great thing to talk about since it’s that time…although I should have got them ordered earlier…oh well πŸ™‚
    Great ideas, I usually use a watering can to water my plants, we get a lot of rain here in Ohio until later in August and September but I usually need some way of watering then. As I am changing everything I am doing with my garden this year I will definitely keep all this information in mind. Thanks!

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  3. First of all, I agree with everything you had to say about overhead-watering, so the PC-Garden Police will have to pick me up also, but just a little off-topic, and to show you just how crazy I can be, for several years now, I’ve only watered my indoor plants (they all sit on or near window-ledges) when its cloudy, or raining outside, and I swear their doing much better than they ever used to. πŸ˜‰

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  4. Like most gardening tasks, it has to work for you. I built a number of raised garden beds that were ‘wicking beds’ (in built water reservoirs connected to a pvc pipe above ground for filling the reservoir). My main purpose was to save our water and to help protect our veggies against Australia’s summer heat. It’s all good Dan if it works for your needs and conditions. πŸ™‚

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    • Those wicking beds sound like a really, really neat idea Sarhn. It’s mind-boggling for me to instantly have access to what people on the opposite side of the globe experience!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree Dan – so inspiring to discover what like minded people all over the world are doing. I have written posts about building the wicking beds – just do a search for ‘wicking beds’ on my blog to find them. Cheers Dan πŸ™‚

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