Gardening Irrigation Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day Watering

So You Won’t Forget to Turn Off the Water…

As easy to use as an egg timer, a simple and inexpensive mechanical timer will turn your watering system off after the number of minutes you choose.

It’s easy to forget you’re watering your garden, especially if you’re using a soaker hose or drip irrigation system, as you can neither see nor hear the water running. But even with a noisier, more visible lawn sprinkler spraying away, it’s still easy to forget to get up and turn off the water at the end of the session. That’s why it’s always wise to add a timer to your system to automatically turn the water off when you’ve finished watering.

The cheapest and easiest timers are mechanical ones: like an egg timer, you simply adjust the dial to the number of minutes you want to water and off you go taking care of whatever else it is you do. It will then turn the water off at the agreed time! Simple!

Electronic timers are especially useful if you need to water on a regular basis. You can then program them to turn on once to several times a week. However, you then need to override the program in weeks when it does rain. Source:

If you prefer programmable (electronic) models, they exist too, although they can be many times more expensive. There are even models that can be controlled remotely using your smart phone! (How neat is that?)


How long should you be watering? It’s hard to say because local conditions are so variable, but…

No matter what type of vegetation you’re watering (vegetables, flowers, lawn, etc.), you’ll probably want moisture to seep into at least the top foot (30 cm) of soil and for that, many people find that, if Mother Nature hasn’t provided rain over the last week, an hour of watering is enough for loamy and clay soils. In sandy soils, which don’t hold much moisture, more frequent but shorter sessions are preferable. Perhaps twice a week at 30 minutes each or three times a week at 20 minutes each.

The important thing is to water thoroughly, yet not to waste water!

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

0 comments on “So You Won’t Forget to Turn Off the Water…

Leave a Reply

Sign up for the Laidback Gardener blog and receive articles in your inbox every morning!

%d bloggers like this: