“The Most Useful, Cheapest Garden Tool You’ll Ever Need!”

This would be the best add slogan to describe the unsung hero of gardens and gardening - the trusty, oft under-used water meter.

I spend a lot of time in gardens (insert hysterical laughter here) working on plant placement & combinations or giving direction to contractors and guidance to homeowners.


When someone asks me any of the following questions:

1. My plants leafs are yellowing, what should I do?

2. My plants leafs are browning at the tips. Should I water more?

3. My soil looks dry, but my plants look fine. Should I water more to be sure they’re okay?

4. My plant is wilting, HELP!


I direct them to begin with the most logical place to look for issues….the current moisture level in the surrounding soil. I personally don’t recommend a meter with multiple capabilities, like light readings, ph balance, etc. Light readings change hourly, duh, the sun moves! Nor do I recommend battery operated units, it’s another component to keep up. Keep it simple!


It's incredibly easy to use. Stick the probe in the soil - 2-6” for bedding plants & vegetables, and as far as the meter will go in around lawns, trees and shrubs. The meter will display the water level in that part of the soil. It’s best to take multiple readings and average them to understand the moisture level for a given area.

Costing around $15, water meters are the simplest tool for gardeners, both new and experienced.



They’re great for containers, raised beds, lawns, veggie gardens, pretty much anywhere you want to be sure your plants/soil are getting the right amount of moisture to flourish. They can be found at your local garden shop or most big box stores with a lawn and garden section.

Once you’ve got your water meter you can answer all the questions I listed above, and many others. Your garden will thank you. Now go grab a water meter!


By C.J. Crockett

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