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Water Your Garden The Lazy Way

Apr 11, 2008
If you are concerned about water conservation, explore the use of drip irrigation.
It is an age old method of watering your plants consistently, evenly and without effort. This technique, also known as trickle irrigation, has evolved over the years into one of the most important factors in contemporary farming methods. This system minimizes the use of water by letting water drip very slowly directly onto the surface of the soil or directly onto the root zone, this in turn reduces water waste due to evaporation and runoff. By utilizing a network of pipes, valves, tubing, and emitters; it is not only flexible, but can be installed and regulated very easily by a home gardener. Raised beds, window boxes and hanging baskets can all be irrigated by the use of a drip irrigation system.

A typical system consists of the following elements, which are listed in order starting from the water source:

* Pressurized water source or pump.

* Water filter. This may not be necessary if using municipal water supply.

* Fertilization injection system (optional). This will add liquid nutrients directly into your drip system.

* Anti backflow preventer- prevents the water from flowing back into your home drinking water system. (May be required by local building code)

* 25 P S I pressure regulator.

* Main supply line and fittings- usually one-half inch polyethylene tubing.

* Valves and controls- these may be hand or electronically controlled; electronic controls have the advantage of a timing device.

* One quarter inch polyethylene tubing, which is used for distributing the water from the half inch tubing to the plants, and is called a lateral.

* Emitters, these can be drippers, micro-spray heads, inline drippers or trickle rings

*Connectors, in line valves and manifolds. Manifolds distribute the water to the laterals.

* Clips or clamps to keep the tubing in place.

Kits can be purchased at your garden center or you can create your own system from a combination of kits and purchased parts. Start a plan on paper to determine the most efficient layout for your garden and how much tubing and how many emitters will be required for full coverage. Most manufacturers will provide planning guides to walk you through this process. A system for an average sized garden can usually be installed in less than one day and is very straightforward.

The peace of mind knowing that your plants are being automatically watered by utilizing a timer is priceless.
About the Author
Dick Murray is a retired urbanite who keeps his passion for gardening alive with pots of herbs on the window sills and the creation of
web site dedicated to vegetable gardening
basics. It is not the same as digging in the soil, but it works for him.
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