The Q&A Archives: Sprinkers or Drip?

Question: Is it okay to use a overhead sprinklers in a vegetable garden or not? I've just finished building a raised bed garden and am about to install a watering system. I was planning to use a micro sprinkler system surrounding the plot with a weekly watering schedule yet to be determined. I've heard that watering from the top can wash off pollen, and supposedly that's bad, but what about when it rains? Doesn't that wash off pollen too? I've seen hundreds of farms using gigantic sprinkler systems to water their crops...I assume they know what they're doing. My veggie garden consists of tomatoes, peppers, beans, carrots, onions, lettuce, eggplant, peas, and an assortment of herbs.

Answer: You can water most plants with overhead sprinklers, and farmers often must. But drip watering is almost always better and more precise.

Sprinklers (or rain) may wash away some pollen, but the main concern is disease. Splashing water or wet leaves are what many plant diseases need to spread. Sprinklers also waste some water to wind and evaporation, which is a big concern where you live.

Drip watering systems deliver water to the exact place it's needed: the soil at the base of the plant. The water is applied slowly and is able to soak in. Water doesn't blow away or run off. Leaves stay dry, limiting disease problems.

I'd encourage you to explore using a drip watering system.

Good luck!

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