Garden Watering Hacks

Whether you live in the arid southwest, need help consistently and evenly watering your garden, or simply want to cut down on watering costs there are lots of things you can do to conserve that precious resource while also saving on labor, cost, and time.

Think of it — that’s like the Holy Grail of garden hacks when you can save water, budget, time, hard work, and produce a better garden. Ready to get going? Follow these garden watering hacks.

wine bottle

Garden Watering Hacks that Deliver Water

1. Use an olla: Ollas are unglazed pots that have a wider belly and a narrower neck, and they’ve been used for centuries to cook and irrigate. Dig a hole next to a plant or in the middle of a grouping of plants, then bury your olla deep enough so that the neck extending just above the soil. Fill it with water 1-2 times a week, and the plants’ roots will absorb that water that seeps out into the soil. We’re talking old school techniques here!

2. Recycle your wine bottles: Probably the simplest and quickest water garden hack around — the wine bottle. After enjoying a delightful bottle of wine, take your empty wine bottle, fill it with water, and simultaneously quickly and carefully flip it over and insert the bottle neck into the soil of your container plant. Nestle it down in there so it’s stable, and the water will slowly empty into the soil as the soil is able to absorb it. Genius!

3. Create a wicking system: Wicking is a great way to keep container or house plants watered when you’re away for a few days. While there are several slightly different systems to choose from, they all have the same essential idea — use a strip of fabric, a shoelace, or candle wick inserted through a pot’s drainage hole and into the rootball of the plant to keep it watered. One end is in the rootball, with the other end of the wicking material in a large container of water nearby. The material soaks up the water and delivers it efficiently to the roots of the plants.


Garden Watering Hacks that Recycle & Conserve Water

4. Save your cooking water: You know the water that’s leftover in the bottom of the pot after you’ve steamed veggies? Don’t throw it out! Wait for it to cool and then use it to water your houseplants.

5. Use glazed pottery for your containers: Terra cotta containers absorb moisture each time you water, stealing it from your plant and its roots. Switch over to glazed pottery to avoid that issue in the first place.

water wicking

When we’re talking about watering the garden, there’s an obvious element that many people overlook: their automatic watering system.

If you have an in-ground irrigation system or a drip system, the first thing you want to ensure is that your system is operating correctly, because water leaks, line or head breaks, or malfunctioning timers waste water — which costs you money.

Do a regular monthly inspection on your system:

  • Irrigation pipes have no leaks
  • Spray heads are operating correctly
  • The nozzles on the heads are intact and spraying correctly
  • The controller is set at proper run times
  • The rain sensor is functioning well

Tip: Wondering how to know if your automatic system has problems? Look for water on sidewalks or driveways (heads and nozzles aren’t adjusted properly), water shooting up in the air (again, a head could be dislodged), puddles of standing water (broken line), discolored grass (too much water in one area), and an unusually high water bill.

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garden watering hacks
Watering can with text, "how to recycle and conserve water for you garden"

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