Here's The Right Way To Water Your Garden

3 comments by Halley -Author at MIGardener

Learning new techniques in the garden can be difficult. You might feel overwhelmed with information at times, like a never-ending laundry list in your head. However, mastering a few foundational tips will save you from facing a world of other garden problems. Today we will cover everything you need to know about watering your garden properly. These tips will provide you with the best results possible.

We learned in previous blog posts that the best time to water is in the early morning. Watering the garden in the morning prepares your plants for the heat of the day. It also decreases the risk of powdery mildew that occurs when you water the garden at night.

Hands-On Watering

A long handle hose watering a lettuce patch. The hose is held close to the ground so the water won't touch the foliage of the plants.

Sometimes taking time to water your garden by hand will feel time-consuming. However, it's a wonderful way to feel connected to your garden and give yourself time to relax at the beginning or end of your day. Rainfall will inevitably water your plants from above, but that doesn't mean you always should. Moisture on the foliage of plants can increase the risk of fungal diseases like powdery mildew. Instead, use a hose on the shower or soaker setting and water near the base of each plant. Some varieties, like tomatoes, thrive in beds with even soil moisture, so be sure to water all of the soil, not just the soil near plants. After seedlings are established, water the garden about 1 inch of water per week.

When Is Overhead Sprinkling Okay?

A person watering onion plants from above with a watering can.


Overhead watering is rarely necessary but affects some varieties less negatively than others. Onions, for example, don't face issues with above watering because their leaves are tall, sleek, and don't retain moisture. Cool-weather crops like peas and leafy greens are more tolerant to water from above. Other varieties may be very negatively affected by the above watering. One of the only situations where watering foliage can be helpful is when pests are detected. Spraying the leaves to remove aphids, for example, is completely acceptable. If you can, take care of these issues in the morning to give the leaves plenty of time to dry completely.

Irrigation Hoses

A soaker hose irrigation system waters a patch of herb plants.

Setting up an irrigation system for your garden is the best way to save money on your water bill. Placing irrigation hoses directs water to exactly where it should go. This system also allows you to time the watering process to avoid overwatering. Overwatering is one of the number one killers of any plant. Check your soil moisture by poking it two inches down with your finger. If the soil is completely dry, it's time to water! If the soil is still wet an inch down, wait a little bit longer. Avoiding overwatering with irrigation will provide lower humidity around your plants and decrease the possibility of fungal issues.

Watering deeper than two inches of soil is called "deep watering." The deep watering method creates better root development for your plants. This method also helps larger plants with deeper root systems receive the nutrients they need. For more information on deep watering techniques, watch this video.


These simple watering tips will save you loads of time and trouble in the garden. If you have any questions for further detail, ask in the comments on Facebook or Instagram! I hope you enjoyed this post until next week!

– Kaitlynn from MIgardener

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  • Rachel

    Hi I just watched Luke’s video from 5 year ago about using a hose with shower spray and how it gets lots of oxygen from the air for your garden. I’m looking at doing Soaker hoses because of time with my 4 littles making it hard to get all my watering done by hand. But just curious is it best to water with rain style hose or sprinkler instead of soaker hoses? This is such an interesting topic.

  • Cristhian Göring

    Thanks for this very useful information.

  • Misty

    Hi, thanks for the post. I needed the info. I do have a question about water quality. I am a big believer that well water is best as unchlorinated

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