Methods Of Watering

The Shoestring Gardener

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In addition to rain, which is not easy to control, there are two basic ways of bringing water to your garden. Some gardeners insist that the best way of watering vegetables is right on the ground, using some kind of irrigation system. Others believe that watering from above more closely approximates rain and is therefore better for vegetables. We'll discuss both methods.

Watering from above is generally the easiest method. However, a fair amount of water is lost through evaporation. Another disadvantage to this method is that it can damage some hot-weather crops—tomatoes, for instance, may crack. This can be prevented by watering overhead until the plants start to produce fruit, then watering on the ground thereafter. Overhead watering can also encourage mildew, especially if you live along the coast or a region with lots of fog where humidity tends to be high during the growing season. You can overcome this problem by watering in the morning, so that plants dry out by evening and do not sit overnight in ground that is continuously wet

Watering from below takes less water, but it involves more work. It is not easy to set up and maintain this type of irrigation. However, in recent years a drip system has been developed that does an excellent job of providing plants with a good water supply, and in addition is not difficult or expensive to install. (More about this anon.)

Overhead watering

In addition to simple sprinklers, today's overhead watering devices can be divided into five major groups: pulsating sprinklers, oscillating sprinklers, rotating sprinklers, hand-held sprays (nozzles) and sprinkler spray heads (irrigation systems).

Pulsating sprinkler: This is the well-known rainbird' type, where water striking an arm moves the sprinkler around in a circle. Each sprinkler will cover an area 50 to 75 feet in radius and can be adjusted to water in a full circle or part circle. It is available in brass or less expensive plastic. Pulsating sprinklers can be used with a stationary underground pipe system and screwed into a standing pipe or utilized with a portable spike or sled base. One operating alone in a full circle is enough for a small garden. Rated excellent for vegetable gardens.

Oscillating sprinkler: This sprinkler is operated by water, moving back and forth to cover an area of 50 to 60 feet It can also be set for varying coverage within that area. Oscillating sprinklers are available with timing devices that allow you to dial the total amount of water you want up to 1,200 gallons. These sprinklers spray in squares or rectangles—the shape of most gardens. Rated good for vegetable gardens.

Rotating sprinkler: There are many types of rotating sprinklers on the market Generally, they consist of rotating arms or small rotating blades propelled by a spray of water. They will water in a circle from 5 to 50 feet Some types will also fertilize while they water. Traveling sprinklers are generally the rotating type and can be made to travel along a hose laid down the middle of the garden. These will water an area up to 15,000 square feet Some water can be wasted by these sprinklers because most water in a circle (although some are manufactured to water in a square. Rated fair to good for vegetable gardens.

Hand-held sprayer (nozzles, wands): Some gardeners insist that vegetable gardens must be hand watered. There is a wide variety of hose nozzles on the market today, including aqua hand gun nozzles, straight nozzles, fan hand sprays and bubblers for ground use. In addition, there are many water wands available—ranging from 24 to 52 inches long—that allow you to put the water exactly where you want it These are available with special seeding nozzles, which produce a very fine mist that won't disturb vegetable seeds, or soft rain irrigator nozzles, which keep water from splashing and cut down runoff. Wands with special nozzles are excellent for hand watering vegetable gardens.

Sprinkler spray head (irrigation systems):

Ground level or pop-up sprinkler spray heads are used

Ways Irrigation

Figure 7.02 Rain Wand

The soft-flow nozzle produces a full flow, soft concentrated water stream. Expecially useful for spot-watering individual plants.

Figure 7.02 Rain Wand

The soft-flow nozzle produces a full flow, soft concentrated water stream. Expecially useful for spot-watering individual plants.

Rain Guard For Rain Bird

Figure 7.03 Rain Guard

The Rain Guard automatically turns your watering system off if approximately an inch of rain falls. The system will start again automatically when the rainfall evaporates.

Figure 7.03 Rain Guard

The Rain Guard automatically turns your watering system off if approximately an inch of rain falls. The system will start again automatically when the rainfall evaporates.

extensively for shrubbery and lawns. Sprayheads are used with PVC plastic pipe to form extensive underground irrigation systems. The heads can be made of plastic or brass and offer varying patterns: quarter-half-, three-quarter- and full-circle. There are two general types—stationary (including the pop-up) and rotating (gear-driven). These systems can be automated with timers connected to moisture sensors.

A significant disadvantage to these systems is that the underground pipe makes cultivating vegetable gardens almost impossible, unless it is placed deep. However, underground irrigation systems can be used in small gardens by laying the pipe outside the garden area, on the sides and corners. Unfortunately, the efficiency of these systems reduces as the garden reaches maturity.

The big news in sprinkler spray heads is low precipitation rate nozzles that allow an entire garden to be irrigated with less water. These sprinklers improve uniformity and reduce runoff.

The basic spray nozzle applies water at the rate of 11/2 to 21/2 inches per hour with a radius range of 7 to 16 feet The multiple-stream gear rotor applies 1/2 to 7/8 inches per hour. The spray radius is 15 to 40 feet. Interchangeable disks determine spray pattern. The single-stream rotor applies water at the

Whirl Sprinkler HeadBrass Ruler Divisions Per Inch

NO. 821

BRASS IMPACT ON BASE

SS P RANGER

Vegetable Garden Nozzles

SS P RANGER

NO. 505 SS D RANGER

THOMPSON MANUFACTURING COMPANY

a division of Jennison Enterprises, Inc. P.O. BOX 1500, 4832 Chino Avenue, Chino, California 91708 (714) 591-4851

SS P RANGER

NO. 821

BRASS IMPACT ON BASE

SS P RANGER

NO. 505 SS D RANGER

Brass Impact Sprinkler Manufacturer
  1. 700 AQUA DIAL
  2. 710 RAIN WHIRL
  3. H 505 SS

SLED BASE/FULL-PART CIRCLE

  1. 823 BRASS IMPACT WITH CONTROL SPRAY ARM ON BASE
  2. S 505 SS SPIKE BASE FULL-PART CIRCLE

rate of one-tenth to one-half inch per hour. Radius is 18 to 15 feet The pattern and the radius are adjustable. Impact (or impulse) sprinklers work like the familiar rain-bird' type. They apply water at the rate of about one-half inch per hour. The water distribution is heaviest closest to the sprinkler.

Matched precipitation rate nozzles are available for almost every type of system. This means that a sprinkler covering 180 degrees puts out one half as much water as a 360 degree head. This conserves water by allowing coordinated coverage.

UNDERGROUND SPRINKLER SYSTEMS

It is worthwhile taking all the time you need to shop around for different products and to plan the layout very carefully before you install a sprinkling system. There are a great many different products on the market, and one of them should be just right for your particular situation. Do some research, following the leads given in this chapter.

You'll want to determine the number of circuits you need and the number of sprinkler heads per circuit. Find out how many gallons per minute are available through your water system, and how many gallons per minute are used by the various sprinkler heads you're interested in. Sprinkler heads need a certain volume of water to maintain coverage. The total amount of water needed by the heads should not exceed the volume that is available if the system is to work efficiently.

For instance, if you have 17 gallons per minute available and if all your sprinkler heads use a total of 20 gallons per minute, you will need to eliminate some sprinkler heads from the system—or divide the system into two circuits. For information on the eight most popular models of sprinkler heads, see Figure 7.04.

It's worth bearing in mind that small- and medium-sized gardens can be watered by sprinklers located at the perimeter of the bed. This keeps the pipe from interfering with cultivation. For this layout, heads in the corners are 1/4-pattern, while at the sides they are 1/2-pattern.

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Essential Guide to Organic Gardening

Essential Guide to Organic Gardening

By gardening organically, the dependence on chemicals is removed. By eliminating chemicals used in regular gardening, your vegetables will be healthier because they will get the nutrients by natural means. Unlike traditional gardening; organic gardening will help to prevent potentially harmful toxins from entering your body. Lastly, it is much more environmentally friendly.

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