Here are some of the common ways to water your garden, with pros and cons of each. The systems described below are best when used with a timer so you don't have to remember.
The most common way most gardener’s water is hand watering. It’s one of the easiest watering methods, it's not the most effective. It wastes water sprinkling around the plant and not getting it down to the roots. Also, the water may be distributed unevenly. Hand watering with a hose or watering can is best used on containers and individual plants. In fact, the best way to hand water is to create a rut around each plant fill it with water. Let it sink in, then move to the next plant.
The easiest is sprinklers because all you do is set up the sprinkler and let it run on a timer and you’re done while the water soaks into the ground. This wastes a lot of water in the process watering around the garden instead of the plants. This type of watering should be done in the morning hours so the leaves dry before the heat of the day and don’t bake your leaves. Also, watering shouldn't be done at night. Night time watering can leave the leaves open to disease.
A more efficient way to water is to lay soaker hoses around plants and along rows. These low-flow hoses weep water into the soil around plant roots and are less likely to waste water. Soaker hoses also work best on flat ground to evenly distribute the water. Soaker hoses focus water near roots where the garden needs it the most.
Similar to soaker hoses is the drip irrigation system in that you'll be directing the placement of water near the plant roots. However, it's even more efficient and wastes even less water. The downside is the cost and up keep. There are more parts to the drip irrigation system that needs to be checked frequently. They are prone to clogs and leaks. The drip irrigation is more expensive than any other watering system.
Not only is the scheduling of your watering important, how you water makes a big difference too. Depending on your area, the season, there may be watering restrictions in place or water may be very expensive. Using efficient watering systems not only will be better for the plant, it can save water and money for you.