This is a commissioned post in collaboration with Gardena
How is your garden looking now that we’ve reached late summer? We’ve finished edging our new lawn now, and I’ve started putting the plants back into the borders, but I still have quite a few gaps to fill, so I’m busy working out a plant shopping list – very exciting!
Our patio containers have been fantastic this year, and are still going strong. My absolute favourite bedding plant this year is this lovely ‘Starry Sky’ petunia, which has been blooming away for months now and is just so rich and tactile.
I do struggle to keep up with the watering at this time of year; I’ve learnt from experience that watering my plants properly makes such a difference to how well they grow and flower, but it can be hard finding the time to do a good job on a regular basis. I also hate wasting lots of water from things like run-off, evaporation and unattended sprinklers.
To try and save water and time in the garden, I’ve installed Gardena’s micro-drip automatic watering system.
Gardena are a leading garden watering and tool brand, with a wide range of products covering lawn care, watering and tools. I’ve already used their NatureUp! vertical gardening system to create a fab herb garden, and tackled lots of garden jobs with their combisystem tool range.
The Gardena micro-drip automatic watering system
The Gardena micro-drip system is designed to save water and remove the hands-on element of watering, while also looking after your plants.
The system allows you to control the amount of water each plant gets, so you never over-or-under water. There are kits available for containers, planted areas such as flowerbeds and vegetable patches, and rows of plants, so you can use it in every area of the garden.
The micro-drip system combines with Gardena water computers, which connect directly to an outdoor tap and deliver a range of watering schedules. I’ve been using the Water Control Select with the Starter Set Flower Pots Medium and Starter Set Planted Areas. For other outdoor water requirements I’ve been using the Gardena ecoPulse nozzle.
Setting up the micro-drip automatic watering system
We started off with the Starter Set Flower Pots Medium on our patio containers. This kit will water a total of seven plant pots and three planters; there’s also a smaller Starter Set available which covers five pots.
Everything you need is in the box, and it really is very simple to put together; you just follow the diagram to attach the pipes from your tap to your containers, cutting them to fit and attaching nozzles as you go.
When you’re ready to install the pipes in your containers, there’s a generous supply of pegs to keep everything nicely tucked away.
There’s a pressure-reducing master unit, which connects to the tap via a hose. When the water computer activates a watering schedule, this little gadget is responsible for delivering the slow feed of water to your plants.
One neat little feature that I love is the inclusion of a cleaning needle, to clear soil blockages from the drip heads. You won’t have to hunt around for a suitably-sized implement, and can avoid using a nail or pin which could potentially cause damage.
The Starter Set for Planted Areas covers an area up to 40 m2, which is generous enough to easily cover our flower beds.
It works in the same way as the container set, with one main difference: the water is delivered to the plants via spray nozzles, which have a range of output angles to allow you to target the water exactly where it’s needed. You can also switch off one or more nozzles during watering should you need access to your plants.
Once we had the micro-drip system in place, it was time to attach the water control computer.
How the Gardena Water Control Select works
The Water Control Select attaches directly to the tap, and can provide three different and independent watering schedules.
The Water Control Select is very straightforward to use, via the rotary and push dial. The weatherproof display is nice and clear, and you can lock it to avoid making accidental changes – I think this is a great feature if you’ve got inquisitive kids in the house! There’s also a battery level indicator, so you can easily keep an eye on power levels.
You can set the start time, watering duration and days for each watering schedule – so for example, you could set set up one schedule for light watering, and another one for your main watering, to deliver a more consistent supply of water to your plants.
I love the fact that you can remove the whole operating panel, and use it away from the tap. So for example, I can pop it on the kitchen windowsill and make changes to schedules or activate the ‘water now’ function without even having to go outside. And when the inevitable wet british weather puts in an appearance, I’ll be able to stop the watering without getting drenched!
The fact that you can set your watering schedule and then be totally hands-off is also ideal for when you’re away from home. We usually have to ask the neighbours to water the garden while we’re on holiday, but this year we can let the automatic watering system do the work.
So, that’s the plant watering sorted, but what about other outdoor jobs that need water?
Saving water with Gardena’s ecoPulse nozzle
We regularly need to hose down our patio area to keep it looking smart, and we also use our hose to clean the family’s bikes and car. All of these jobs can be very water-heavy, so they’re ideal for the Gardena ecoPulse Comfort Cleaning Nozzle.
This clever little nozzle has an oscillating water jet that delivers a powerful spray, while using up to 40% less water compared to a standard Gardena nozzle.
There are four different spray patterns to choose from (oscillating jet, hard jet, flat jet, and mist spray), and a lockable trigger button to take the strain out of holding for long periods of time. The handle has a soft plastic palm grip and is really comfortable to hold.
The oscillating water jet did a great job of clearing dust, dried-on mud and fallen petals from our patio, I certainly didn’t need a more powerful and water-hungry setting to do the job. It was also great for targeted cleaning on the bikes.
We’ve been using the ecoPulse nozzle for cleaning purposes, but it’s equally suitable for plant watering. I’ll definitely be using the water-saving oscillating function as much as possible.
The Gardena micro-drip automatic watering system – my verdict
We haven’t used an automatic watering system in the garden before, but having used the Gardena system this summer I’m definitely a convert.
It’s really easy to setup, has lots of practical features that help to deliver a great result, and all the components are the usual high quality you would expect from Gardena.
I love the fact that we’re being smarter with our water use now, and given that I never have enough time to dedicate to the garden, the time-saving element of this system is also brilliant for me. Obviously, being able to sit back and enjoy the garden instead of standing with a hosepipe is rather nice too!
The Gardena micro-drip automatic watering system is a great way to save time and water in the garden, but it’s also an easy way to help keep your plants in tip-top condition. I think it’s ideal for all gardeners, from novice right through to expert – basically, anyone who’s looking to work smarter in the garden and still get great results.
Gardena products are available online and at your local garden centre. The watering range is really extensive, with products to suit all garden sizes and demands. You can check out the full range here.
Could the Gardena micro-drip automatic watering system help you save time and water in the garden?
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I was supplied with a Starter Set Flower Pots Medium, Starter Set Planted Areas, Water Control Select and ecoPulse nozzle for this post. All comments and opinions are honest and genuine.