Watering the vegetable garden can be a time consuming, monotonous activity for most gardeners. Getting up at the crack of dawn to water vegetable plants can get down right tiring after a while, not to mention dragging a garden hose all over creation. However, there are some nifty projects that you can implement within your garden that are very simple and inexpensive, and may save you some watering heartache.
Install A Watering Well… or Two… or Three
Before you jump to conclusions, I am not talking about digging a huge well on your property. The ones I will be discussing are quite a bit smaller and a lot less costly. The watering wells I am referring to are very simple to install in the garden. One type of watering well consist of a plastic flower pot, and some rocks.
Use one gallon or half-gallon size plastic flower pot, that have some nice drain holes in the bottom. Usually these pots will already have two to four holes in the bottom “corners”, and in the middle – like the one below.
You could also drill more holes in the bottom of the pot if needed, or drill a couple 1/4-inch holes in the sides of the pot to get to those roots even better. I wouldn’t drill too many holes in your watering wells though – you don’t want the water to empty very quickly. A steady, slow water stream is the best.
Map out the places where you want to place the watering wells. The best method is to bury the watering well then plant the vegetables around the well. These watering wells work great for 4'x4' or 4'x8' raised garden beds, but can be used in all types of gardens.
Once you have decided where to use watering wells, dig a hole big enough for the pot to fit in. You want the rim of the pot to stick up above ground about 1/2-inch to an inch.
From time to time, set the pot in the hole to check your depth. Keep doing this until the depth is just right. Now fill in around the pot with soil. The watering well should look something like this.
Once the pots are buried where you want them, fill them with pea gravel, small river rocks, or aquarium rocks. The rocks will prevent beneficial insects from falling in and drowning, and keeps debris from falling into the pots, clogging up the holes. Here I am using some aquarium rocks that look really good and are the perfect size. A small bag will fill up a half-gallon pot, and cost around $3 per bag. You can use any type of rocks you wish.
You can now plant your favorite vegetable plants around your watering wells. The closer the plants are to the wells the better they will receive water. On average, planting plants 10 to 24 inches from the wells seems to work great. If the wells are closer then that’s even better. It really depends on what you are growing, and the needed space of that particular plant. You can use as many watering wells as you need.
Now that you have the watering wells arranged and the veggies are planted, you can fill the well with water or your favorite feeding solution. The watering well will slowly trickle the fluids into the plant’s root zone, supplying moisture where the plant needs it most and eliminating water run off. Refill the watering wells once or twice a week (possibly three times a week in very hot, dry conditions).
With some planning, these simple watering wells can make watering your garden effortless.