By Jane Milliman
Want to save time, money and hassle? Set yourself up to water with ease with the right tools and equipment. Faced with the array of selections available, how do you choose the right nozzle, hose or sprinkler? Do you always go for quality? Your answer should be yes, because a single durable watering tool will outlast multiple lesser products. From there, you’ll want to decipher which tools work best for your common gardening tasks.
One of the best gardening decisions I’ve made is to lay a soaker hose in place any time I’m planting a new perennial garden. You can mulch right over a soaker hose. Not only will the mulch slow evaporation and suppress weeds, but it’ll also make the hose invisible and allow your garden to be the star of the show.
And with smart companion tools, setting up a hassle-free watering system can be done in a snap—literally. Using Quick Connectors, you can pop your soaker hose into a length-adding Flexogen hose if you’re stretching out to a far-away garden.
Water conservation is always a goal, but there are times when you absolutely must water your lawn—after over-seeding or patch-seeding, for instance. For small areas, a nozzle is sufficient. Just set it to a fine spray, such as the “Flower” pattern on Gilmour’s Thumb Control Watering Nozzle, so it doesn’t wash away the grass seed.
For larger jobs, an elevated sprinkler that telescopes to gain height is ideal, as it can cover much more area while still retaining that gentle touch.
Adjustable sprinklers (like the Gilmour Medium Duty Adjustable Pattern Master Circular Sprinkler) are good for watering beds that flank or encircle a lawn that might not need as much watering alone. Because each space, like your own, is unique, this sprinkler is designed for you to easily adjust the spray distance and pattern to suit your needs.
For containers and new plantings, nothing beats a good old-fashioned drenching. And the best way to reach hanging baskets and just-out-of-reach annuals and perennials without compacting the soil or standing on a ladder is with a watering wand.
Unless it’s been overcast or raining, I check baskets and containers every day, since they tend to dry out quickly (the smaller, the quicker). Don’t let them get to the point where the soil pulls away from the sides—it’s more difficult to re-soak potting mix that has a high peat moss content than it is to keep it properly moist. That said, you don’t want to water too much, especially if drainage is questionable. Feel the soil with your fingertip. If it’s moist and cool, you can probably leave that pot alone until tomorrow.
Gardening (and choosing the proper tools to assist you) is a little science, a little art and a lot experience—eventually you can just look and you’ll know.
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