Drip irrigation systems save water, benefit your garden and reduce your time spent watering manually. Best of all, the systems are flexible enough to fit a range of garden bed setups and are easy and inexpensive to install. A trip to the garden supply store and afternoon spent working will save you time and money and ensure your plants and vegetables get adequate nutrients.
To install your drip irrigation system, you will need plastic tubing, garden stakes, a timer for your outdoor water tap and plastic emitters. Both the plastic tubing and emitters should display a gallon per hour "drip rate" at which the water penetrates the ground. If your tubing supports a drip rate of 240 gallons per hour, you can install 40 emitters with a drip rate 6 gallons per hour or 20 emitters with a drip rate of 12 gallons per hour. If you are unsure what type of emitter would be best, talk to a garden specialist at a garden supply store to make sure you get the right type of system for your garden.
Before you set up your drip irrigation system, consider the needs of your garden. Will you be able to water all of your plants and vegetables on the same irrigation system or will you need to have multiple systems so nothing is over-watered? If you require multiple systems, you will need to hook each up to a different outlet. You can install different-sized emitters on the same line for plants with different amounts of hydration but similar watering schedules.
Connect the tubing to a timer device and attach this to your outdoor water tap. Then lay out the plastic tubing so that it passes all plants, using the garden stakes to hold it in place. Use a pocket knife or scissors to slash a hole in the plastic tubing to place the emitter. The emitter should pop in like a thumbtack into cork board. Once you have attached your emitters, you are ready to water.
Drip irrigation systems are a must-have for those in areas affected by drought. They ensure all of the water you apply seeps into the plant's root systems. Watering by hand or with a hose cannot guarantee this accuracy. Drip irrigation also helps control the consistent application of water throughout a garden bed. None of your plants will be over-watered due to a change in grade. This ensures even growth and harvest of vegetables.
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