Typical watering for the garden can take significant time and energy. Gardeners are forced to water each plant individually, and missing a scheduled watering can damage their gardens if held off for too long. To correct this potential problem, some gardener choose to install automatic or self-watering systems.
The two main variations of self-watering systems are electronic and nonelectronic methods. Electrically controlled systems will irrigate the garden according to preset timers. Natural methods, such as rain collection and glass water balls, use nature's design to meet the plants' needs
Automatic timers are attached to sprinklers and drip hoses and will turn them both on and off based on a preset schedule the gardener designs. The National Gardening Association recommends using these automatic systems to help reduce water waste and garden maintenance. Local gardening stores will often sell these timers. They can also be installed by landscape professionals.
Rain sensors are an important addition to electronic irrigation systems. They prevent overwatering by adjusting the irrigation amounts during heavy rainfall. They work by controlling the timers and sending a electrical signal when they reach a particular level of moisture.
Rain collection can help provide irrigation automatically for the garden by utilizing gutter flows in areas where water tends to collect. Gardeners can use plastic containers with holes drilled at the bottom to collect water and distribute it over time after heavy rains. Indoor gardeners can take advantage of glass water balls, which are designed to release water into the plant when gasses are released signaling the need for water. These are placed directly in the soil and require only to be refilled from time to time.
The main benefit of automatic watering systems is the amount of time saved by gardeners. They are environmentally friendly, reducing water waste and reducing the amounts of underground pollutants that can contaminate nearby waterways.