A vegetable garden can be watered in several different ways. Basic watering techniques for vegetable gardens include creating simple furrows and basins. Watering systems involve sprinklers, regular hoses, or soaker hoses. The most complicated way to water plants is to install a drip system.
#1. Drip irrigation
A drip irrigation system consists of a long hose with small holes called emitters located at determined distances along its length that connects to a water source through a valve. Between the valve and the hose, which is called drip tubing, is located a system composed of a filter, pressure regulator, and a backflow preventer.
A drip irrigation system provides water slowly through holes, or emitters, in flexible plastic pipes. Many different drip irrigation systems are available; they can either consist of a single pipe with flexible lines running off it, or a series of pipes. These pipes are weaved and are connected to a water supply, a filter, and often a pressure regulator placed along rows of plants so the water flows directly to the roots of the vegetables.
Thanks to the flexibility of the tube, it is easy to arrange the dripping system in any desired layout, and the drip tubing can be extended by interconnecting two or more tubes of the desired length.
To water the plants, the drip irrigation system releases water slowly at or near the roots of the plants. This maximizes irrigation efficiency because water soaks into the soil immediately, hence it doesn’t evaporate. Then, water is applied only where needed; to the roots, minimizing waste. Here are three reasons to invest in a drip irrigation system. There are various types of irrigation systems to consider, but drip irrigation is the least expensive. Its low cost and wide applications attract most homeowners and gardeners to invest in this solution. Drip irrigation is ideal to use in the vegetable garden but also in a flower garden or an orchard. Drip irrigation is even suitable to use on roof gardens or terraces.
Efficiency of the Drip Irrigation system
When it comes to water-saving, drip irrigation is the most effective. With an efficiency of about 90% or over, drip irrigation reduces waste but also helps plants thrive by providing water only where is needed. Drip irrigation works wonderfully well in a vegetable garden as well as under the hedges. Drip irrigation is dynamic and almost invisible, drip irrigation systems are often used by landscapers in exterior design.
Design of Drip Irrigation System
Drip irrigation systems are versatile and adaptable. It can be installed in gardens of all sizes and shapes due to the flexibility of the tubes. Emitters can be installed at variable distances and adjusted to release water only where needed.
Furrows: Furrows are shallow trenches between raised beds that channel water to plant roots. This watering method is based on an old farming technique of planting on narrow raised mounds or beds and then using furrows to water. The beds can be 1 to 3 feet apart — the wider apart they are, the more water you use.
When you’re ready to water the garden, fill the furrows completely with water, wait a while, and then poke around with your finger to make sure the water has penetrated through the bed.
Basins: A basin is a donut like depression around a vegetable plant that is filled with water. A basin is made in a 2-foot-diameter circle around the plant.
Hoses: Watering with a hose is not the ideal watering system and probably is best for watering plants in containers and for watering individual, large plants such as tomatoes. It can be used in conjunction with the basin method. In these situations, you cannot be sure that you are applying the right amount of water to your plants.
The best way to water your vegetable garden with a hose is to leave the hose running at a trickle in a basin near each plant until the water has soaked down to at least 6 inches deep.
#2. Sprinkler Irrigation System
Sprinkler irrigation systems are very popular and have a watering efficiency of about 75-80%. Creating a mist of water, the system simulates rain and is ideal for a tropical garden or plants that love having their leaves soaked. A sprinkler is effective for watering vegetables planted in sandy soil that absorbs water quickly. It is also an effective way to water a large garden when you don’t have much time.
Portable sprinklers and in-ground permanent sprinklers are great for watering large areas if you don’t have much time. Constantly wetting the foliage of vegetable plants can encourage disease problems. So when you use a sprinkler, water in the morning so the foliage can dry before nightfall, this way less water is lost to evaporation.However, if you have heavy clay soil that absorbs water slowly or if your garden is on a slope, the water may run off, so it is not advisable to make use of sprinklers.
However, the system wastes water. Because water arrives first on the higher parts of the plant, it takes more time for it to soak into the ground. Evaporation wastes a good part of this water, and the sprinkler would have to be left on for a longer period.
This irrigation system is also associated with mold growth and other plant tissues as a result of damping the aerial parts of the plants.
#3. Soaker Hose System
A soaker hose is similar to a drip system in the way that it delivers water to the roots. Water soaks into the ground immediately and it is not wasted by evaporation. However, the soaker hose releases water through its whole length, and in most vegetable gardens this means waste. Yet, a soaker hose works wonders to maintain the hedges green and also provides sufficient water to a lawn. A soaker-hose irrigation system consists of a rubber hose perforated with tiny pores that leak water. The hose can be laid between rows or curved around plants. With a soaker hose, water leaks out of the hose and onto the soil, leaving foliage dry. Using a soaker-hose system is easier than using a drip irrigation system because it involves fewer parts and no nozzles.