Bottom watering

Vegetables can be watered from the bottom by such simple methods as a ditch between the rows, an open-ended pipe or a hose bubbler. Far better today, however, are the drip-trickle irrigation systems. These work by providing small amounts of water to your vegetables along the root zone. Most cut water dosage by up to fifty percent by putting water exactly where it is needed and by slowing evaporation.

4 Figure 7.05

Impact or impulse sprinklers

Water striking an arm moves the sprinkler around in a circle. Each sprinkler will cover an area of 50 to 75 feet They can be used on a free-standing pipe or on a sled or spike base.

There are four ways of getting water to your garden based on the drip-trickle method:-

Drip hose (soaker/oozer): This operates like the familiar lawn soaker hose. Perforated or porous hose or tubing allows water to trickle from the entire length of the soaker hose at a uniform rate. This can be attached directly to the water supply, and the hose laid down the rows. Most systems allow several hoses to be attached together. In some systems, separate control valves and lines are used for deep-rooted plants like tomatoes and shallow-rooted plants like lettuce. The lines that run down each row may be placed on top of the soil.

Twin wall (variation of the drip hose): Several manufacturers market a double tube. Some utilize an inner water-supply flow chamber with an outer ooze chamber, others have side-by side twin tubes. One tube receives the water and transfers it to the ooze/trickle chamber. Some double-drip hoses are prepunched for spacings of 4, 8, 12 and 36 inches. These systems are not as popular as they once were.

Drip emitter (microdripper): This system consists of V2-inch polyethylene pipe tubing laid throughout the beds. Emitters have a preset flow rate and are installed exactly where needed along the row. Snap-on emitters can be attached anywhere along the line and are often available with various length extensions. A variation of this system utilizes screw-in spray heads (available in preset spray arcs). Spray heads vary from a coarse spray to a fine mist and fit into holes punched with an awl.

Screw Pipe Mist Sprayers

Figure 7.06 Drip system

All parts of this system are made to be snapped or threaded together. Drippers and adjustable minisprinklers put the water just where you want it Can be used for vegetable gardens as well as shrubs and flower beds. Once the system is laid out, all you do is turn on the faucet Enlarge the entire system at will by simply snapping additional units together.

O.M. SCOTTS Sf SONS

Marysville, OH 43041

Figure 7.06 Drip system

All parts of this system are made to be snapped or threaded together. Drippers and adjustable minisprinklers put the water just where you want it Can be used for vegetable gardens as well as shrubs and flower beds. Once the system is laid out, all you do is turn on the faucet Enlarge the entire system at will by simply snapping additional units together.

O.M. SCOTTS Sf SONS

Marysville, OH 43041

Soaker hose

Made from recycled rubber, this hose oozes water from tiny pores distributed over its entire length. It is flexible enough to follow the shape of your garden beds, but can be buried under 12 inches of ground.

Spaghetti or microtube systems: Holes are punched into a 1/2-inch polyethylene tubing and small spaghetti tubes, 1/8-inch or less in diameter, are then inserted into the tubing and run out to individual plants. There are many variations. Spaghetti systems use a spaghetti tube, a rigid stand-up tube with a spray head and tubes with stick-in sprayers, drop-in bubblers and water loops of various sizes.

Spaghetti systems are particularly good for watering the planter boxes, tubs and hanging containers discussed in Chapter 10. Tubes are run to each container and connected to stick-in sprayers, bubblers, or similar devices. Most gardeners today use a system combining the drip emitter with spaghetti tubes. Emitters are used with such plantings as carrots and beets, while spaghetti tubes with or without an emitter are run to large individual plants such as tomatoes, squash, eggplant and similar vegetables.

Water-supply regulators: Every drip setup utilizes one or more regulators or accessories to make the system work better. A filter strainer prevents small particles from clogging the system; an antisyphon valve prevents dirt and foreign matter from draining in to the system (this may be required by local plumbing regulations); a ball valve regulates flow rate; a pressure regulator and pressure gauge precisely controls pressure; a solenoid valve is utilized with a time clock. All systems can be hooked to an automatic timer.

Automatic sprinkler controllers: It's important to control watering to keep it at optimum efficiency. There are a number of automatic controllers on the market, incorporating many different features, though, essentially, every controller uses a clock that turns the water on and off for a specified period of time.

The simplest type of controller uses a mechanically times hose bibb valve. Screw one end to the house outlet, the other end to a hose, then set the timer to shut off the water flow after a specified time.

Electric timers have become increasingly sophisticated. A clock timer that can be set to operate a valve which simply turns on the water for a given number of minutes a day is considered rudimentary by today's standards. The more complex timers have multiple clocks that allow watering every day, every third day, every sixth day, and similar combinations. Some allow a different program to be set each day, others offer repeated watering several times a day. Yet more intricate controllers allow operation of three, six, eleven, fourteen and even more stations (or circuits) at any one time.

More and more gardeners today are switching to the new electronic solid state digital systems. Each zone or system of can be placed on its own watering schedule. You can, for instance, water your vegetable

Vegtable Garden Irrigation Systems

garden once a day for an hour, at 8 AM. each morning, water the flowerbeds at 2 P.M. and the lawn at an entirely different time. You can also repeat this schedule several times a day.

Moisture sensor systems: Another way of regulating the amount of water your garden receives is through the use of a sensor system. A sensing device is buried in the root zone of the plants in order to determine the moisture content of the soil. When the content gets below a certain level that has been preset on a controller, the sensor activates another part of that same controller, which then orders' an electric valve to turn on the water. After a predetermined time, the water is shut off.

Optimum Moisture Content
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