<chuckle> Well, seems to be a varied idea on watering. I agree with what you said @Daisyl
regarding watching how the water soaks in. My soil is sandy with a clay base. One small corner of the garden the clay is a small bit closer to the surface but I tend to treat it as the rest of the garden and it does well. The drip irrigation barely makes a puddle before it soaks into the soil. As time goes by you can see the wet spot spread, even spreads some after the water is shut off. Currently I'm watering twice a week for an hour and fifty minutes...this should put close to 1.25" of water on the garden each week (excluding rainfall). The "consistent" part is what I'm after. With the heat and dryness that we experience a lot of time trying to remember to water on a schedule would be a challenge for me. In the past, with lesser gardens, I've had many a tomato to split due to getting dry and then flooding them to make up for the dryness. I'm hoping the timer will solve that issue.
One thing I've discovered with my garden layout is that I should have put my melons at the end of a row rather than at the beginning (where the water valve is located). That way if I've still got squash or cucumbers growing when the melons start ripening I could insert a valve just before where the melons are growing and cut the water off of them to help their sugar content increase. As it is, they are first in line so to get water to the plants at the other end of the line they'll have to get water, too. Next year I'll switch them to the end.
, I think I'm going to do a mix of both of your suggestions and water probably around 2:00am. My wife gets up around 4:00am so that would have the watering over with before she needs to use any and it will give the water a good bit of time before sunshine-caused evaporation begins.
Thanks for all the feedback!!!