3 essential watering tools for beginning gardeners
Irrigation is an essential part of gardening maintenance. Part of providing proper water to plants involves having the right equipment. However, with so many options – from drip irrigation to timed sprinklers – it can be intimidating for gardeners to figure out what irrigation tools they need.
Experts generally agree that there are 3 essential tools that all gardeners should have in order to properly water their garden. Here’s what you need to know to choose the right ones for you, according to local experts.
A hose is an essential gardening tool if you don’t already have one. When it comes to hoses, the most important thing is the quality in the home garden.
Tom Estabrook, vice president of Estabrook’s garden center, with locations in Yarmouth and Kennebunk, said substandard hoses wear out or fail at the metal ends, both where the hose is attached to the spigot and where the water is is released.
“Inferior tubing is just not a smart way to go,” said Estabrook. “In the long run you will always pay with an inferior hose. You really want to understand the quality of the home you are buying. “
When it comes to hoses, however, expensive is not always better.
“Don’t just look at the price,” said Estabrook. “Just because it’s a high price tag doesn’t mean it’s a great hose.”
He recommends the DRAMM brand for hoses.
“DRAMM is an excellent garden hose,” said Estabrook. “It’s not a kink, it’s heavy industry quality. That’s all we use commercially in all of our greenhouses here. “
For gardeners who have to haul their hoses back and forth from their fields, Kate Garland, a horticultural specialist at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, said a lighter hose may be preferable.
“Some of these broken hoses can be pretty good,” Garland said. “They are very light and portable. These are easy to lug around. They want watering to be very convenient because that is a really important part of gardening. “
In terms of length, Alicyn Smart, Assistant Extension Professor and Extension Plant Pathologist at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, said “the longer the better.”
Garland also said that a good quality irrigation stick that attaches to the end of the hose is essential.
“A good irrigation wand is really important, one that can either be turned on and off or has a cap you can twist so you can turn it off right at the end of the hose, not the water source,” Garland called. “Some of them can be quite expensive, but I think this is a really important tool.”
Garland said a longer handle wand is also preferable.
“It helps you aim at the ground so you’re not aiming at the plant’s foliage, which is a big no-no,” she said. “It also helps you get into really thick plantings. If you have a wide garden bed, it will help you to get into the garden bed a little better. “
While a watering can is by no means the most efficient method of watering, it’s perfect for spot treating gardens when you don’t have access to a tap or hose.
“Always have a good watering can with you,” said Estabrook. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s plastic or metal. Some have a slightly better nozzle, but in the end it’s more about getting water to the plant when it needs it than about a perfect scenario. “
Garland said you should choose a lightweight watering can with a sturdy spout that breaks the water so the jet of water doesn’t plow sensitive plants.
“They don’t want it to get too big and drag you around too much,” she said. “You don’t want the extra weight of water to be as heavy as it is.”
Whichever tool you choose, proper irrigation is important.
“Your water is more important to me,” said Smart. “You want to try not to wet the foliage whenever possible to limit the development of diseases on the foliage. If you only have an overhead sprayer, water in the morning to let the sun dry the leaves. “