When I was a kid, my family had a large garden full of vegetables. It was one of the kids’ chores to water the garden daily, and I still remember how my watering chore went: I got up from the couch, went outside, turned on the faucet, made sure the sprinkler went on, then went back inside to play. 20-30 minutes later, I would go and turn the faucet off. The End.
Years later, when I started having gardens of my own, I was watering my garden by hand. However, this was mainly because I had very little space/yard and only could grow a few things at a time, so I didn’t NEED to have a garden sprinkler. Then, a year ago, we bought our first actual homestead property. I was super excited to have a very large garden for the very first time. I was soon bummed out, however, to learn that the only outdoor water faucet was on one side of our property, and the garden space was way on the other side. There was no good way to reach the garden with a hose, so I was suddenly looking at spending lots and lots of time lugging a watering can back and forth to my large garden.
Even though I was originally bummed, I try to be optimistic about things, so I tried to look on the bright side. During the first month of gardening, I tried to have a happy attitude about watering my garden by hand. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I didn’t even have to try to do this, I actually DO love hand-watering my garden! I’ve been doing it for almost 3 months now, and I love it so much that I just KNEW I had to write about why I love watering my garden by hand. (PLEASE NOTE: I am NOT judging anyone who uses a garden sprinkler or has an awesome drip irrigation system in place. I have no kids and I work from home, so I have the time needed to garden like this. I am simply stating why watering by-hand is not a bad thing.)
10 Reasons Why I Love Watering My Garden By Hand:
- I spend more time outside: Maybe I am alone in this, but as much as I love being outside, sometimes it is hard to get motivated to stay outside for long periods of time. Now, I spend at least one hour outside watering my garden, and this summer, it will probably be about two hours. I love this!
- I use less water. Instead of a sprinkler, that sprays everything, including paths and weeds, I can narrow the water to only the actual plants. Huzzah for a lower water bill AND wasting less of this beautiful earth’s natural resources!
- There are less weeds: By focusing the water on the plants themselves, weeds are less prolific in my garden. Also, since I am constantly in my garden for watering purposes, I make sure to wear garden gloves and I just pull out the weeds as I am watering the plants in each bed. It is super easy to keep up with weeding when I am in the garden for this long every day!
- I can stop bug infestations right away. Since I am spending so much of my day in the garden, as I pour water over the plant, I am able to look at each plant for bug infestations. If I see a unhealthy plant or a plant with chewed-up leaves, I immediately put down the watering can and I look over the plant for problem pests. It’s been working great!
- I personalize the water needs for each type of plant. Tomatoes need lots of water, so I give them an extra dose every day. I do the same for my watermelon. Meanwhile, my radishes, peas, and kale are pretty happy plants with more shade than the rest of my garden, so they can have less water. In addition, I pour water on the base of each plant and NOT all over their leaves, so they have less rot problems and sun burn than if I was using a sprinkler.
- I personalize the fertilizer needs for each type of plant. When my tomatoes and peppers are looking a bit sad, I add epsom salt to my watering can for that round of water. Peas don’t need epsom salt in their water, however, so I just give them regular water. To encourage my cucumbers and pickles, I sometimes add some fish emulsion to the water. Every plant needs something different for extra nutrients, and I can personalize the attention to them all for better plant health.
- There is less harassment to my good garden protectors: My garden has a lizard, a toad, and some garden spiders that take care of many pests for me. If the garden was getting “rained” on a few times a day by a sprinkler, I imagine those awesome garden protectors might not be around as much, especially my very-active lizard friend. I respect my garden protectors and I leave them be, which keeps them around and keeps my pest problems down.
- It makes my harvests more manageable: Instead of getting overwhelmed with a harvest day, I just upkeep my garden while I am watering it. I pick any edible strawberries as I water them. I cut some kale leaves and arugula every day. I will pick beans every day once they are ready to harvest, too. By constantly harvesting produce, I will not only get MORE to harvest from these plants, I will also keep gardening less stressful.
- It’s GREAT exercise! One thing I do to make watering by hand an even better experience for me is that I make it into exercise. As I walk to the garden, I lift the 2 gallon watering can, full of water, over my head and slowly bring it down to eye-height, then lift it again, then lower it, etc. It’s like lifting weights! My arms are killing me, but I know it will help me stay strong and healthy. Since I fill my watering can about 10 times a day (soon to be 20 times a day!) and I walk from one side of my yard to the other side, I am lifting arm weights a lot! I absolutely LOVE this natural weight-lifting idea and it keeps me excited about hand watering!
- Finally, I feel a more intimate connection with my garden. There is nothing more magical and beautiful to me than when I walk through my garden and observe its’ beauty. I watch a butterfly land on a radish flower. I observe a bee landing on my newly-opened calendula flower. I lovingly caress the leaves of my plants and whisper encouragement to them. I feel like I am one with my land. It is the best part of my day, no doubt about it. <3
What about you? How do you water your garden? How do you connect with your garden? Please feel free to comment below. I love hearing from you all!