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Water Your Garden The Easy Way

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How To Install A Drip Irrigation System: A Step-By-Step Guide

While the one good thing about a rainy summer is that you don’t have to spend so much time watering the garden, there are always those times when you hit a dry spell.

While some areas may be drowning this summer, like here in Ohio, other areas are plagued with drought. Not only can the right irrigation system save you a lot of work, it can also help to conserve water.

Here is a great article with a step-by-step guide to setting up a drip irrigation system to keep your garden watered, save you lots of time and energy, and deliver the water right where it’s needed, thus reducing waste:

Sprinklers, which spray water into the air where it is easily evaporated or lost to the wind, are inherently inefficient. They spread water over large areas, regardless of whether there are roots throughout the area to absorb it. Plus, constantly wetting the leaves contributes to foliar diseases in many crops. In contrast, drip irrigation systems deliver water directly to the soil, precisely where it is needed. Drip systems are geared for precision and are highly adaptable, allowing gardeners to fine-tune how much water each and every plant receives.

Home scale drip systems allow vegetable beds, perennials, trees, shrubs and even potted plants to be irrigated by one system controlled by a common “brain,” a computerized timer that opens and closes a series of irrigation valves according to a programmed schedule. Each valve supplies water to a different irrigation zone, feeding the plants water through a network of plastic tubes and drip “emitters.”

Step 1—Install Timers, Valves and Hardware

You can connect a drip system directly to a hose faucet and turn it on and off manually as needed, but automated valves make life easier. While you focus on other tasks—or go to your day job—the system does the watering for you. The most basic timers are battery powered or solar-powered and are designed to screw onto a hose faucet; in this case, the timer and the valve are a single unit. Multiple valves are needed for larger gardens, however, in which case a separate multi-zone timer is mounted somewhere nearby.

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Step 2—Install the Tubing and Emitters

The plants that will be irrigated with the drip system should be divided up according to proximity and how frequently they need water. A vegetable garden might need water every day, while an orchard might need it once per week or less often. As a general rule of thumb, each valve can water about 1,000 square feet of vegetation, so plan the system accordingly.

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Fine-Tuning and Customization

Drip systems are bit like Legos—there are an infinite number of possible configurations. There are elbow, “T” and straight couplings for both the larger supply tubing and the smaller spaghetti tubing, so the network of water supply can be routed exactly where it needs to go. If you make a mistake or change your mind, there are plugs and caps that allow you to reconfigure whenever you want. Emitters come in ½-gph (gallon per hour), 1 gph and 2 gph sizes, so you can customize how much water each plant receives. There is also tubing with emitters built in at 9-inch, 12-inch, 18-inch and 24-inch spacing to make it easy to set up drip systems for rows of vegetables that are planted the same distance apart.

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Get the full detailed instructions at ModernFarmer.com…

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