Thursday, June 14, 2012

Drip Irrigation System for Vegetable Garden

Putting in a drip irrigation system in my garden has been one of the best time saving things I've done. I used to water my garden by hand every day from a hose and I thought that it was better because then I was out there every day knowing if I needed to water more, or weed or take care of it in other ways. Then as we expanded our garden, it was taking over an hour to water my garden every day. So we set up our drip irrigation system, and I decided that I would still go out daily to check if it is getting sufficient water, and to weed and take care of it. Now I can spend my time taking care of my garden, enjoying sitting in it and checking things off the “to do” list instead of just watering.

In the spring it takes a little bit of work to set up the drip irrigation to water the garden, but it soon pays off.

Here are some pictures of what you will need to do:

1.     You need a pressure reducer valve. Then run the PVC pipe to all of the grow boxes, and a pipe straight up so that you can connect the drip hoses to it in the box. I would do this before you put in the garden, and lawn if you can, but it can be done after if needed. It is also possible to get a pressure reducer valve for a hose and a timer for the hose too, but we will not cover that in this article.

2. Connect a bigger sized drip hose to the PVC pipe that goes into the box. This hose is the one you will connect all of the small drip hoses to with small connectors and Ts. To connect to the hose, you will just need to poke a small hole about the size of a hole punch. They have a special tool for doing this that is very affordable and easy to use. Then stick the straight connector or T into the hole and attach the hose to the connector by simply pushing the hose onto the connector.

3. You can run a soaker hose for vegetables that are planted close together like onions, carrots, lettuce, herbs, and the like. You can also use small stakes to hold it in place next to the plants.

4. You can also connect a bigger brown hose that already comes with little ports in it. The ports are not adjustable and are around 9-12" apart.

5. There are many options of drippers. This one is a 2 gallon per hour dripper. We use it on our tomato plants and other bigger vegetable plants. We just run a line from the bigger black hose to the tomato plant and attach the dripper. You can get hose that has no holes to reduce water waste. Or you can get small hose that has little ports that spray out a small amount of water. They are like a soaker hose, accept they spray out random holes. I do not like this as much as the drippers and the straight soaker hose.

Installing a drip irrigation system is a great way to save water vs using a sprinkler system, because you are just watering the plants and not all of the soil. It also has a great side effect that the weeds do not grow as much because they do not get watered. The hoses and drippers also are reusable from year to year. You might need to buy some connectors or other small parts, but for the most part it is a one year investment.

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