|I've got a garden started, but am ready to add drips into the garden. What type drips do you recommend for my veggies and watermelon? 1/2-gallon per hour? 1 gallon per hour? And how long shall I set my drip system to run? I live in the Phoenix area, and it's getting hot. Should I spray water directly on tomato and pepper plants? or, just soak them? Same way with watermelon?
|We would all prefer an exact formula for watering plants, but unfortunately, that's not the best way for the long-term health of your plants. There are numerous variables involved, such as type of soil, how fast or slow it drains, sun and wind exposure at your site, temperature, age and condition of the plants and much more. It's important to learn the specific needs of your landscape, both for its health and your water bill. Use the information below to determine how moist the soil is before automatically applying more water. Use a soil probe (any long, pointed piece of metal or wood to poke into the soil) to check how far water has penetrated. The probe moves easily through moist soil, but stops when it hits hard dry soil. The water should reach a 1 to 1 1/2 feet depth for vegetables and water should be applied every 3-4 days (in the summer months when temperatures are in the 90s and winds are drying). Use a one gallon per hour emitter. It's important to water slowly, deeply, and infrequently so that salts in the water don't accumulate around the roots of the plants and water seeps out to where the new roots are growing. I suggest that you set your timer to 30 minutes to an hour--you'll need to check how deep the water penetrates for an accurate setting. I hope this information helps you. Drip irrigation works well once you know how deeply the water penetrates and how often you need to run the system.
Drip irrigation keeps the water in the ground where it does the most good. I wouldn't regularly wet the tops of the plants - it can invite fungal diseases. Good luck with your veggies!