Garden Irrigation

Garden Irrigation -Organ gardening, Drip irrigation.

Garden Irrigation

Garden Irrigation | We will step you through the proper steps in installing a water-saving organic garden drip irrigation system.

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Garden Irrigation is one of the most important duties of the organic gardener. Delivering just the right amount of water to the root zone of your plants and vegetables is key to the success of your crop.

I believe we all know that we shouldn't over water as that reduces one of our most valuable natural resources and we shouldn't underwater as that weakens our plants and reduces their yield.

Water Deeply and Infrequently

Water Deeply and Infrequently

Live By This Rule:

Water deeply and infrequently. By deep watering you encourage your plants to grow deep and extensive roots, which make them much more able to survive hot, dry weather. If you water shallowly, the plants will develop a shallow, weak root system, which has to be watered often and is disease-prone.

Generally a deep watering once per week is adequate for most fruits, vegetables and flower gardens. Deep watering would amount to 1-1/2" to 2" of rainfall per week. If you have sandy soils, you may have to adjust this amount upward a bit and with clay soils, you would adjust it downward.

Water uniformly and make sure all plants are covered equally and completely, especially at the edges of your garden.

Water efficiently:

The best time of the day for garden irrigation is early in the morning for many reasons:

    The evaporation rate is the lowest of the day in early morning promoting good saturation of water into the soil. Once the sun comes out, the foliage dries quickly, minimizing disease related to excess moisture.
    With winds usually at their minimum in the morning, your overhead sprinkling will be targeted in the right area without it being wind-blown to other areas.
    Practice hydro-zone gardening. This is the practice of grouping like water needs plants together so they can easily be addressed by your sprinkling zone controller
Proper Water Will Increase Your Yield

Proper Water Will Increase Your Yield

Consider Drip Irrigation For Your Garden Irrigation System

Consider the use of a Drip Irrigation system for your garden. Run a drip line along each side of each row and forget the overhead watering and the problems associated with it. Be sure to purchase a drip system that is designed to be buried, as most of it is for use above grade on within a course mulch layer.

Another organic advantage to a drip system is that is will use about 30 to 50% less water than overhead systems. The reason for this is the plants receive water directly where they need it, right at the root zone. You also are not watering your pathway between rows.

Isolation Valve

Hook your garden irrigation system up to a good irrigation controller. Better yet, get one that senses rain and wind and it will pay for itself in a real hurry, while conserving water. So it is doubly organic. Check out our article on Drip Irrigation for a lot of information on these systems.

Consider the Weathermatic SL1600 4 Zone Controller for cutting edge irrigation control. You can make complicated programming decision very easily with this unit. It allow you to add a wind sensor and rain sensor.

Keep in mind that if you decide to use drip irrigation as part of your garden irrigation system, and you are going through a period of drought, your plants will enjoy a shower from a hose-end sprayer once a week. So if the rains stop, be sure to do this.

One disadvantage with the drip system for your garden irrigation system is that it needs to be removed every fall in re-installed every spring, after your roto-tilling chores are finished. But it does come out very easily and goes in just as easily and can definitely be re-used.

Mulch Your Garden and Minimize Your Garden Irrigation Needs

Mulch plants thoroughly to hold in the moisture. I would recommend the use of plastic or geotechnical Fabric between the plant rows.

I love the Geotechnical Fabric as it lets moisture and air through, but not the weeds. Also if you place bark or wood chips over the top of it, it is a lot less slippery than plastic. One downside is that it is more expensive.

Many people mulch between the individual plants with lawn clippings. Just spread the clippings out to about a 2" layer and you will minimize weed growth and additionally keep moisture in. Make sure you don't have any weed seeds or grass seeds in the clippings.

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