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!
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!