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Why is Rainfall So Much Better For Your Garden Than Watering?

Updated on September 10, 2010

Have you ever noticed how healthy and green everything looks after a nice rainstorm? It never looks that good after you run the sprinklers does it? I love the rain and come August when I am so tired of dragging the hose out to water the garden each day I really welcome it.

Did you know that when it rains it provides the earth with a lot more than just water? Rain is a natural fertilizer for the earth. Everything growing in the ground uses nutrients from the soil, particularly nitrogen and sulfur. A lot of plants get many of their nutrients from rain too. So watering them with the garden hose does not provide them with nearly as many benefits as having it rain on them.

Rain and lightning provide many much needed nutrients to the plants and soil, including the nitrogen and sulfur the plants take from the earth. When lightning strikes the earth the ground is filled with large amounts of nitrogen pulled from the atmosphere. All plants need nitrogen to help them make chlorophyll, so rain and lightning are very much needed in our gardens.

Another benefit of rain is dust. Yes rain tends to settle the dust that is in the air making it easier to breathe but it also does more than that. The dust in the air is filled with minerals, organic matter and microorganisms that benefit plants and the soil. The dust floats around in the atmosphere until it rains. The rains bring all of these good nutrients back to earth where they are so useful.

Snow is another natural fertilizer that not only adds nitrogen to the soil but also phosphorus and other minerals.  Snow is essentially rainwater, but obviously in a different form.  This matters though because it captures different minerals from the atmosphere that will help our soil in the long run.  The slow melting and soaking that occurs each spring in snowy climates really benefits our plants and soil in different ways than rain can. 

So even with modern technology allowing us to water anything we need, included huge fields of crops in the middle of nowhere, it is really the rain that we need more than anything. Droughts cause lots of problems and even watering regularly during a drought won't provide your plants with everything they need. I see an added benefit to getting rain barrel set up, in that even when it isn't raining anymore, you can capture those benefits to be used later on during a dry spell. This almost makes me want to do a rain dance.


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    • Londonlady profile image

      Laura Writes 6 years ago

      This is so true! I won't forget the time my father invested a ton of money so he could put in an irrigation system under the soil to water his lawn, only to find out that our grass still died. Just can't beat mother nature

    • Granny's House profile image

      Granny's House 7 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

      Hi Jen, I have always noticed that after a good rain my gardens and flower beds looked real good. However I did not know why. Thank you for sharing this hub

    • Don Simkovich profile image

      Don Simkovich 7 years ago from Pasadena, CA

      Fascinating statement that rain helps settle the dust and there are benefits to the dust settling. I have a compost pile and even sweeping old leaves and dust in our driveway has similar benefits. I hope it rains a lot this year in SoCal. We had a good year in '09-'10.

    • bayoulady profile image

      bayoulady 7 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA

      Great words! No toxins added to sanitize the water,either!I love to save rainwater for my plants.

    • ecoggins profile image

      ecoggins 7 years ago from Corona, California

      Thank you this is a very interesting and helpful hub. It does seem logical that a good quality rain would penetrate deeper into the soil and cover the area more evenly to make the whole garden look better.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      My yard and garden all seem to love the rain. After the rain it always smells so fresh and clean. We try to save rain to use when Mother Nature isn't cooperating. Thanks for the great hub.

    • idreesfarooq profile image

      idreesfarooq 7 years ago from fiverr dot com/idreesfarooq

      I love it. thanks for sharing such a wonderful hub.

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 7 years ago from Great Britain

      I needed that. Thank you. I have to try now and appreciate the 10 months or so of rain we get in this area. You are a gem with all the different information you come up with. Thank you.

    • 2besure profile image

      Pamela Lipscomb 7 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      I never realized that good rain sanitized the air. Mother nature always does it better! Great hub.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 7 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      I get plenty of rain and lightening, but did not know about the benefits until reading your hub. Wonderful, as I do a lot of gardening and raise a few vegetables and herbs. Thanks. Thumbs up and awesome!

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 7 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      Mother nature is always at her best after a rain...

    • HealthyHanna profile image

      HealthyHanna 7 years ago from Utah

      I wish we had more rain water to water our garden with! I live in a very dry area and can really see a difference when we do get a good rain storm. If I could, I would get a rain barrel and water with that, but I can't. I am glad to be able to have a garden though.

    • DiamondRN profile image

      Bob Diamond RPh 7 years ago from Charlotte, NC USA

      Sorry about the misspelling. It should say "oxygen-rich ozone."

      I am not an alarmist. That fresh smell after a thunderstorm really is a, "Good Thing."

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you, DiamondRN, for explaining lovely fresh air hahaha Rainwater hasn't have the chemical in it then tap-water.

    • profile image

      lisacharlotte 7 years ago

      because rainfall soaks in the ground and the heat from the ground radiates up steam kind of like a greenhouse effect

    • DiamondRN profile image

      Bob Diamond RPh 7 years ago from Charlotte, NC USA

      The fresh pleasant smell during and just after a thunderstorm is a combination of nitrogen compounds and oxen-rich ozone being released by lightning.

      The amount of ozone and nitrogen oxides that lightning creates is greater than those created by human activities.


      As Martha Stewart would say, "It's a good thing!"