There are a number of options available when it comes to garden watering systems. The basic techniques that are used for watering a garden will involve creating simple basins and furrows. Garden watering systems will involve soaker hoses, regular hoses and sprinklers. The more complex ways to water a garden involves installing drip systems.
Systems for the Avid Gardener
With so many watering system choices available, it can be easy to get overwhelmed and possibly a little frustrated. You want the best watering system for your garden and more importantly, for your specific types of vegetation. So, which type is the best one for you? Well, it all really boils down to a matter of preference and your budget. However, you should also be informed regarding the pros and cons of each system in order to determine the best fit for you and your yard.
Drip irrigation provides water slowly through emitters or holes, by way of plastic pipes. These pipes should be weaved along rows of plant life so that the water directly flows to the root zone, in steady and slow increments.
Pros: Drip irrigation is the best choice for the gardener who is into technology and who doesn’t have much time to devote to watering their garden. Studies have shown that a properly installed and well-designed system can use around forty to fifty percent less water compared to other watering systems. Since the water is delivered at soil level, there’s no waste or runoff, allowing for easier absorption, especially when it comes to problematic soil such as clay or sand.
Cons: The downside of this technique is that it’s one of the more expensive garden watering systems. Some gardening pros have noted that the tubing can wear out more quickly if they’re exposed to yard traffic or direct sunlight. Regular maintenance is necessary to keep this watering system in top form. This includes periodically flushing the filters in order to prevent mineral build-up and clogging. If this system is installed incorrectly it can result in dieback or poor root development. This water system is also more susceptible to animal damage.
The automated spray system is probably the most widely used method for delivering water in the garden. This type of standard setup includes sprayers or sprinklers, valves and a controller. Both the rotor and spray systems provide the option of shrub style sprinklers or pop-up sprinklers. Shrub sprinklers are mounted above ground, via vertical pipes and are used mainly to water areas with dense, tall shrubbery. The pop-up style sprinklers are installed below ground, rising only when the system is switched on. This makes them almost invisible in the yard when the system is off.
Pros: These watering systems allow you to water an areas of your garden or yard in a very short period of time with an impressively high application rate. Most of these systems can also be customized easily and upgraded to include drip irrigation zones, rain shut off devices, soil moisture sensors. For maximum coverage, the spray heads are highly adjustable.
Cons: If your yard has a steep incline or slope, this type of system may not be the best choice since they work the best on mainly flat terrain. They also tend to be less effective in penetration and distribution of water when it comes to certain soil types. If you have sandy or clay-like soil, your best option will be a slop drip irrigation system.
The automated rotor system works in a similar manner as spray systems, except the heads use a rotating stream of water. This type of watering system allows the sprinkler to spin around in set arcs.
Pros: Ideal for large landscapes. They’re also considered more precise and effective than spray head sprinklers. The flexibility of this system allows them to effectively water sloping lawns or oddly shaped areas in the yard or garden.
Cons: The rotor system may not be a good choice if you experience low water pressure with your current watering method. The rotor system depends on a higher water pressure than sprays due to their jet-like water distribution.
Regardless of the type of system you decide on, be sure to consult a professional regarding setup and installation.
Simple Watering Techniques
Shallow trenches that are located between raised beds are known as furrows and they work by channeling water to the root of the plant. This type of watering technique is based on techniques that are used on farms and involves planting on narrow raised beds or mounds and using furrows as garden watering systems. These beds can be one to three feet apart.
When it’s time to water your garden, fill a furrow with water and wait a while, then use a stick to poke around the soil in order to determine if the water has been absorbed in the raised bed.
This isn’t one of the most efficient ways to water a garden because it will take time for the water to run the duration of the bed and the beginning of the row tends to get more water than the end of the row. When watering in this manner you will also need to frequently reposition the in order to fill each furrow and water and to avoid wasting water.
Basins are donut like depressions around a plant that are filled with water. Basins are usually made in a two foot diameter circle around each plant. This type of system is best designed for plants that require more water.
Watering your plant life with a hose isn’t the best type of watering system and it is more ideal when used to water plants in containers. The best way to water a garden using a hose is to leave a hose running on a low setting near every plant until enough water has soaked into the ground.
Using a soaker hose as an irrigation system will consist of a rubber hose that is perforated with small holes that leak water. Using this type of hose is a much easier method than a drip irrigation system.