What Irrigation Method is Most Efficient For Gardening?
Water is a commodity that most of us take for granted.
We can turn on the tap in our kitchen and fill a glass with clean drinkable water. We can go to the grocery store and easily purchase any fruit or vegetable we desire without much thought into what goes into it. We can golf on lush landscapes and bask in the beauty of a well manicured lawn often without thinking, “what keeps all of this alive and growing?”.
The answer is simple. Water.
If you are entering into, or an already seasoned domestic gardener, than water usage is a crucial element to your garden’s success. There are numerous ways to increase efficiency to your water system through researching which irrigation method is best for your needs. Read on to learn more about the varying systems and which are wasting the least amount of water.
Before we dive into the various systems, let’s first pause and discuss the basics.
What is irrigation?
Irrigation is the application of controlled amounts of water to plants at determined intervals. Irrigation helps grow agricultural crops, maintain landscapes, and improve soils in dry areas and during periods of inadequate rainfall. An irrigation system is constructed by researching the correct irrigation supplies needed for your specific garden. Read on to learn more about the top three irrigation systems.
1) Sprinkler System
This is a good system to use if you need to cover large areas.
The first kind is a manual system that you will need to turn on, monitor the watering time, then turn off. The second being an automatic system where those three components are programmable. The sprinkler system is beneficial because you can adjust it to varying conditions such as dry or rainy spells. It is best to use this system early in the morning to reduce water lost to evaporation.
2) Hand Watering
This is the simplest and most common method of watering.
Often done with a simple garden hose or sprinkler, the hand watering technique is great because it avoids overwatering. The timing is completely dependent on the person doing the watering. So on the spot monitoring of water amount is always in play. When hand watering it is important to have a high quality nozzle to control the water flow.
3) Drip Irrigation
I saved the best for last. The drip irrigation system is by far the most efficient system when it comes to water usage. It waters plants directly at the roots, minimising water lost to evaporation or areas in less need of water. This is a highly effective way to supply one to four gallons of water per hour to the soil, in comparison to sprinkler systems that can often over water if not monitored very closely. Drip irrigation is the best choice for the homeowner with a small to medium sized garden. This is also a great system for mulched areas because the water soaks directly into the soil rather than washing away mulch.
Innovative irrigation practices and supplies can enhance water efficiency, providing both an economic and environmental advantages. Some regions are more prone to water shortages, while some are rich in water resources. However, no matter what, it is best for your pocket book and the planet to be mindful about water usage in your home garden. Doing research on the best system for your space, and consider installing a drip irrigation system if applicable to minimise waste and maximise efficiency.