Watering Seedlings and Garden Starts

Garden Tools, Techniques

It’s no secret that plants need water!  In the early stages of plant development, the seedlings are so fragile.  Simply dumping a bunch of water on your plants is a sure-fire way to kill them.

For a long time, we’ve used a typical water bottle sprayer to mist and water our seedlings.  We have done this for years and it’s a very effective method.  You don’t really need a mist-like spray, just something that gives you a bit of control over how much water reaches the seedlings.  It just needs to be gentle enough not to knock over newly born seedlings.

Even as plants get a bit older, their roots aren’t well-developed enough to keep a deluge of water from uprooting them.  It’s really only a couple of months into the process that they can take the brunt of a hose-powered sprayer.  We have typically used the spray bottle well into the plant’s development until they get around 3-5 inches tall.  This is usually around the time we start hardening off and are often taking the plants outside.

The spray bottle effort gets really tiring after a while.  Often times you’re going through 2-3 fill ups per watering cycle and afterwards, your hands hurt from the effort.  It’s a fast track to carpal tunnel syndrome.  I’ve tried to think of a way to solve this issue and think I found the absolute perfect thing.  The great news is it cost a whopping $6.97 at the local Home Depot.

Introducing our new pressure sprayer.  This thing holds just shy of a half-gallon of water and will just keep on spraying with very little effort.  You may have used one of these before for applying pesticides or perhaps other liquid applications.  The concept is you pressurize the chamber with a hand pump and this will allow you to pull the “trigger” which forces water out of the nozzle.

This thing is awesome.  It can be adjusted to produce a very fine mist, a spray-bottle like spray or a jet of water.  (Obviously the latter setting is a plant killer.)  Overall, it requires very little hand pumping, which is also easily done while watering your garden starts.  It should reduce overall fill-ups, too, as the capacity is almost double the typical 32 ounce spray bottle.  You can release the 56 ounces of water in just a few minutes with very little effort.

We haven’t yet started to use this on plants yet, but I did enjoy misting our cat a couple of times so far.  We’ll start to use this on our larger plants here soon when they really start sucking up the water and daily watering becomes necessary.  I’m really looking forward to using this inexpensive and superior alternative for watering our garden starts!  If you’ve got seven bucks to spare, this definitely should be on your must-have list of garden tools!

Usage Update 2017:  Well, we’ve had plenty of chances to use this sprayer and it’s been absolutely great so far.  Really a hand saver.  Our plants are getting big enough that we need to give them a really good soaking every few days and this does the trick.  The only “drawback” so far is that it’s easy to over spray when the nozzle is on a wide setting, but taking the plants outside or doing it over the kitchen sink does well enough for us.  Highly recommended $6 garden tool!

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