Installing a Drip Irrigation System For Your Garden

Installing a Drip Irrigation System

Drip irrigation isn't just for commercial farmers or climates that experience droughts. It is convenient, handy, time-saving, easy to use, and inexpensive for the home gardener as well. Garden watering can be a real chore. A medium size garden can take over an hour to water thoroughly, especially during a heat spell. Even heat spells that last a few days can completely deplete your garden of water. Drip irrigation solves these issues easily.

A drip irrigation system delivers water through pinprick size holes in a hose that is arranged around your plants. The hoses are all connected to each other and to a water pump and pressure controller.  The pump supplies the water and the controller regulates how much water is delivered through each hole. A drip irrigation system can be as small or large as you like. The hardest part of using a drip irrigation system is deciding where to lay the hose and setting it all up. Once it is laid out though, you don't have to worry about watering the garden for the rest of the season. As any gardener knows, this is a huge deal.

A system can be set up relatively inexpensively. A pump, pressure controller, and tubing are all you need to start this system. Some people have used an old garden hose with holes poked in it in place of specialty tubing. While this may save some money, the specialty tubing is worth investing in. It is much thinner than a garden hose and easier to work with.

There are two types of drip irrigation: above ground and below ground. There are benefits and downsides to both and the one you choose will depend on your own garden's needs.

Above ground Irrigation System

above ground irrigation
Above ground drip irrigation dribbles small amounts of water onto the soil around the base of the plants. This method of irrigation is simple to move around, realign, cut off, and replace, as needed. If you need more irrigation, it is simple to add more hose. The biggest downside to the above ground system is that it is less efficient, compared to below ground irrigation. The sun evaporates some of the water so the plants aren't actually getting all that is being delivered to them.

Below ground Irrigation System

Below ground drip irrigation is a lot more complicated to set up and maintain, however, it delivers water to the plants in a better, efficient, manner. The water is supplied to the plants at their roots, directly where they need it. To install this system, a narrow trench is dug out, the hoses are placed into them, and then they are covered up. This needs to be set up before any planting is done. This type of system is best for someone who has the same garden layout every year. Any readjustment of the design will require digging up the hose and realigning it. Additionally, if the hoses get clogged, it can be hard to tell. Determining exactly where it is clogged, and fixing it is a time-consuming endeavor. Generally, this drip irrigation set up isn't practical for most gardeners. If you'd like to use your time more efficiently in your garden, consider setting up a drip irrigation system. The hours in watering in saves you completely worth it.