This blog is about growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area

October 10, 2014

How to water your garden in the Phoenix, Arizona area

Water is precious, especially here in the desert. But if you want to be able to have anything in your backyard in the Phoenix, Arizona area except dirt and rocks, you will have to add water. And if you do it right, the effect is absolutely magical, like an oasis. If you do it wrong, well, all you get is a mess, a high water bill, and dead plants. Here is what I have here:

• A low-pressure *drip* watering system. You can get it for cheap at Home Depot, and it's just a way to step down your house water pressure to low pressure to allow a small amount of water to precisely target your plants. Originally, I had *spaghetti tubing* to the plants, but that doesn't work so good, as it gets clogged easily. So I switched over to the tiny sprayers. They're practically invisible, but they're critical to the health of the garden. This is a precision system, which uses very little water, so it's not a *set it and forget it* thing. I check regularly to make sure that the sprayers are working correctly, hitting the plants at the roots. The water only sprays a few inches, but that's all that's needed.

• A misting system. That's the tall copper riser that you see in the center of the photo. It's a secondary system to the main watering system, and it adds not only moisture to the ground, it adds humidity to the garden, at least for a few inches.

Both systems are on battery-powered timers. I adjust the frequency, and duration, depending on the season. In the heat of the summer, they come on daily, as the year goes on, I decrease the frequency. In December and January, I turn of the automatic watering system entirely. Annual flowers and bulbs that are growing in the winter I water by hand, with a plastic watering pot. I never use a hose. Well, to wash my car, but that's it.
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