What Is Smart Watering?
First, let’s define smart watering—smart watering is giving your plants the right amount of water at the exact time they need it. Usually, it involves an IoT device that calculates these variables and waters your garden without manual assistance. To learn more about this, check out our previous blog post. Nevertheless, any gardener, whether they own such a device or not, should observe the following tips if they want to maintain a happy, healthy garden.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that different geographical areas require different watering techniques. It wouldn’t make sense to water the same way in Seattle, where people don’t leave the house without at least two umbrellas, as in Phoenix, where people live in swimming pools lest they faint from dehydration.
Of course, an IoT device is able to automatically detect the home’s location via WiFi and dispense water according to a specific forecast. If the weather channel predicts rain later that day, the system will shut the sprinklers off. Or, if there’s a few dry, hot days coming up, the system will increase the water flow. In addition to geographic location, time of year, soil type, and plant age are also important factors to consider when watering your garden.
In any case, with a bit of research, homeowners anywhere can prepare their garden for prime watering and perform their own assessments. Keep in mind that smart watering just means delivering the right amount of water at the right time—watering shouldn’t adhere to a clock or predetermined calendar. We’ve already covered the essentials to watering your garden in a previous article. But first, before you can really start smart watering, it’s important to prepare your garden and follow these expert steps below:
- Choose The Right Soil: Like I mentioned earlier, geographic location is essential in determining watering methods for your garden. It’s important to choose the right type of soil, because different soils absorb water in different ways and can help your garden thrive in its designated climate. For example, clay soils are tight, retain water well and are great for hot, dry climates while sandy soils are grainy, not great at absorbing water, and drain well—meaning they’re better for cold, wet climates. This is because in wet climates where it rains often, like Seattle, the sandy soil is able to take in larger amounts of water without getting damaged. In short, clay soils don’t require frequent watering while sandy soils do. There’s also humus soil (no, not hummus), which is made from the natural decay of materials like leaves and topsoil, so there’s it’s packed with tons of nutrients that help stimulate plant growth. Essentially, humus is the one-size-fits-all of soils and is great for any climate. Lastly, as an extra perk, with an IoT solution, you’d be able to connect soil moisture sensors and save even more water in your garden.
- Use Mulch: While you can purchase mulch in most home gardening stores, there’s also forms of organic mulch you can find around the house: for example; bark, compost, composted manure, grass clippings, newspaper, shredded leaves, or straw. Why is mulch important for garden irrigation? Because mulch prevents water loss and also adds humus to retain more water. Put simply, it lowers the risk of runoff and wasted water.
- Group Plants With Similar Water Needs Together: If plants in your garden that require more watering are rooted next to plants that don’t need so much water, some plants might suffer from over or under-watering. It’s an easy way to conserve water and simplify your sprinkler design by collectively grouping plants with similar water needs. On the same note, it’s important to realize that some plants are not suited for certain climates. If you live in a dry, arid climate, don’t fill your garden with plants that require extensive amounts of water. In any case, if you have an IoT system installed, the device would be able to recognize that certain zones in your garden require more water, and would deliver water accordingly. If you don’t have such a system, it’s best to avoid growing non-native plants.