Designing Your Irrigation System

There are several irrigation methods for your garden and some may be better suited to your situation than others.

If your garden is very small and you have time to check it daily you might just use a garden hose or watering can. However more effective systems can be constructed on a budget.

A water sprinkler can be used, but they waste a lot of water, to evaporation and watering areas that don't need to be watered. Also they wet the foliage and create situations favorable to disease.

The most efficient type of watering is a drip system.

Why Consider Drip Irrigation?

A drip system can help you place water where it is needed more effectively. A well designed drip system losses practically no water to runoff deep percolation or evaporation.

A drip system reduces water contact with the foliage of the plants which can encourage diseases.

Watering schedules can be managed precisely to meet plant demands, holding the promise of better yields and quality

One type of system is a subsurface drip system. In this type the tape or emitter system is buried below the surface and is less likely to be damaged during cultivation and weeding.

If you choose to use chemicals such as fertilizer. Since the fertilizer is applied to the root zone nitrogen is less likely to be leached out of the soil.

Additional advantages:

*Drip systems can be adapted to odd shapes and unlevel ground

*Conserves water does not overwater some ares and under water others.

* Fertilizer cost can be reduced by precise placement.

* Drip Systems can be designed so that walkways stay dry enough to allow access for harvest or weeding during irrigation.

* A drip system can be automated to free up your time for other tasks.

* Drip tubing rather than drip tape should be used fir perennial crops.

Filters And Pumps

Every trickle counts when you are battling a water shortage.A poorly designed or managed system can waste a lot of water.

Especially if you are using surface water you will need a filter. In the western US sand filters have been used successfully. Screens or disks can be an alternative. Any filter should be the equivalent of 200 mesh per sq. in.

Vacuum relief is necessary between the solenoid valve and the emitters to prevent soil from being sucked back into the emitters. Flushing the system with chlorine occasionally helps to keep algae from clogging emitters.

Most states now require a backflow prevention device on all connections to the public water supply.

Click Here to View A Video On Drip Irrigation

Gardener's Supply Company