Planning Irrigation for your Garden

[Music] Plants are mostly water, and as well as being essential to their
survival, water is also the means by which nutrients are drawn up from the soil through roots and
stems and into leaves and fruit, so good irrigation is a high priority
for any garden. The first thing to consider when
planning irrigation is that traditional watering methods are
inefficient. Watering your garden from above during the heat of a summer’s day wastes water and rarely helps the plants. Often only the first inch or so soil is
dampened and water that falls on leaves quickly
evaporates, never reaching the roots. Water on leaves also makes plants more
susceptible to diseases spread through spores in the air, such as blights, so you should always water the base of
a plant, not its leaves. To reduce evaporation, add dry much on
top of the soil such as a thin layer of dried grass
clippings, comfrey leaves, hay or wood chips. Water can seep
through this layer but it then doesn’t evaporate quickly,
and the soil below is kept moist. For big plants such as tomatoes, burying a plastic bottle with a few small holes punched in the bottom can provide an extra water reservoir. Screw the cap on the top and water will slowly percolate out into the surrounding soil, providing a consistent water source. Combine this with guttering and water barrels, and you can end up with an eco-friendly
solution that stores excess water during wet weather that you
can use efficiently during dry periods. What if you are away
from your garden for extended periods and don’t have someone to water your
plants? That’s where drip irrigation can come in
handy. Automating the watering with a timer,
and delivering water exactly where it’s needed is an efficient way to irrigate crops. You can use our Garden Planner to plan drip irrigation by selecting the irrigation layer from the toolbar. This makes it easy to work out just what you require
before you start installing it. Most drip irrigation systems start
with 3 things at the water source: First, a timer controls when the watering
should happen – typically this will be 10 to 15 minutes
in the morning and/or the evening. Second, it’s a good
idea to include a water filter to eleminate particles that can clog the drip irrigation system. Third, add a pressure regulator to
prevent the water pressure from exceeding what a drip irrigation system
can handle – typically this will be around 10 to 30
PSI for a small garden Next, the supply lines for the water need
to be laid out. Half-inch polyethylene supply tubing is
usually used for this as it’s easily attached to walls, cable-tied to pipes, or buried under pathways. It’s important to identify any sharp bends as this could restrict water flow if the
tube kinks. You can use 90-degree elbow fittings to
make sharp turns and prevent kinks in the supply line. T-fittings can be used to create a branch line off the main supply line. Finish each length with an end fitting. Once the supply tubing is in, it’s time to add the drip line. This is connected by punching a hole in the half-inch supply tubing A length of quarter-inch tubing is
attached to one end of a transfer barb and the other end of the barb is inserted
into the hole. The quarter-inch supply tubing is run to the area to be watered, then another transfer barb is used to connect the drip line to the quarter-inch supply tubing. Several different patterns are commonly used for laying out the tubing. For plants in rows, quarter-inch drip line is
run along the beds kept in place by U-shaped hold-downs
every 3 feet or so. For more densely grouped plants, you might
choose to snake the drip line along the bed. In the Garden Planner you can draw this
by holding down the Ctrl key on a PC, or the Cmd key on a Mac, to add lines for each quarter-turn without needing to pick up the drip line tool every time. Then curve them using the middle
handles. For square or circular beds, a spiral layout can work well. Containers on a patio or deck can also have lines branch out to them. In each case, the rule of thumb is that quarter-inch drip line can only feed around 15 to 20 feet depending on the emitter spacing, so if you
need to go further than that you’ll need to run another length of quarter-inch supply tubing instead. Larger bushes and trees will often have
their own supply line and use either half-inch emitter tubing or, if they are regularly spaced, you can use half-inch supply tubing with emitters inserted into it at the
right places. Circle the tree so that the roots are
encouraged to grow out rather than stay in a tight root ball. It’s fine to put a layer of mulch over the drip line just so long as it doesn’t become buried
into the soil which can cause back suction of dirt, potentially clogging the system. These simple design principles work well
for small to medium gardens with equivalent of up to about six 4-8ft beds. For larger gardens you’ll need to divide them into separate systems, often referred to as zones, where you run more than one supply line
and may use more than one timer. When your design is complete, just head to
the Parts List button where the Garden Planner has calculated the
number and length of parts required. Add around 10% to the totals for
any lengths of tubing to make sure you have a little spare
when installing it With your plan and Parts List, you’ll find
it much easier to put in place a reliable system to ensure that your
plants get the regular watering they need. [Music]

15 thoughts on “Planning Irrigation for your Garden

  1. Nice video showing how easy drip is to install. It really does pay back the cost of the system by saving 50% of the wate to do the same or better job in the first year. Dripworks is an excellent source for products and information to help you pick out a long lasting system.

  2. Here are the best ways of watering your garden to give maximum benefit to your plants….

    For other ideas on irrigation and how to make that water stretch further visit our pinterest board Dryland Gardening…

  3. Something I'm noticing nobody ever suggests a ring main irrigation, I've found it saves  having to worry about low pressure points

  4. Agreed the comment that ring network is better to avoid blocks or issues. Also on regulator, can be handled by tap throttle or adjusting pipe supply dial meter and off takes to allow the desired flow rate / time based volume.

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