Ask a Question forum: Vegetable garden drip irrigation...morning or evening?

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Name: Ed
Crenshaw County, South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Vegetable Grower Zinnias
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Intheswamp
May 12, 2018 9:05 AM CST
It's already in the 90F's here in south Alabama and I've got my t-tape irrigation set up. I'm now trying to figure out whether it is better to water in the morning or late afternoon, even maybe early evening going into nighttime.

Since the leaves won't be wet, watering in the evening or even at night seems like it would work well in giving the water more time to soak down into the ground before the sun starts evaporating it from the surface. Is there other things, though, other than wet leaves, that might be a reason not to water at night?

Something that just came to mind is our family's personal use of water. Early to mid evening we may be using water for baths, clothes washing, etc., so it would probably be better for us if we were to water at night to do it after 10pm...irrigation would be over by midnight which would give the water probably eight hours to soak in before any sun-caused evaporation begins.

Thoughts and suggestions are most welcome!!!
Thanks!!!!!
Ed
"My old socks smell like cilantro..."
South Alabama - 8a/8b
The Enchanted Land of Humidity
www.beeweather.com
2017 Garden Photo Album: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm1zSVfK
β€œIt is difficult to produce a television documentary that is both incisive and probing when every twelve minutes one is interrupted by twelve dancing rabbits singing about toilet paper.”
― Rod Serling
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
May 12, 2018 2:41 PM CST
With a drip system, it doesn't matter when you water but it is important to water long enough for the water to sink in. If the water is puddling or running off, you are watering too long. Or, the soil is such that it takes a long time to sink in, then water more frequently for shorter periods of time. If, when you dig down, the soil isn't adequately moist, you watered too little.

Irrigation timers are a good investment. You can water when you want for how long you want as often as you want, all from the comfort of your favorite chair. Smiling Also, consistently watered plants perform better.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: J.R. Baca
Pueblo West Co. ( High Dessert (Zone 6a)
josebaca
May 12, 2018 3:59 PM CST
Ed;
I'd say you pretty much answered your own question. My soaker system has gone on at about midnight thirty for the past 3years and no problems. Just make sure everything is running right before doing so and occasionally check during the day. I don't think you'll have any problems.
Good gardening.
J.R.
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
May 12, 2018 5:43 PM CST
Around, give or take, sunrise !

Before, everybody gets up and starts using water !
Or ! After Everybody stops using water. πŸ‘πŸ‘

😎😎😎
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Ed
Crenshaw County, South Alabama (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Vegetable Grower Zinnias
Image
Intheswamp
May 13, 2018 7:05 AM CST
<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.

@josebaca @Philipwonel , 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!!!
Ed
"My old socks smell like cilantro..."
South Alabama - 8a/8b
The Enchanted Land of Humidity
www.beeweather.com
2017 Garden Photo Album: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm1zSVfK
β€œIt is difficult to produce a television documentary that is both incisive and probing when every twelve minutes one is interrupted by twelve dancing rabbits singing about toilet paper.”
― Rod Serling

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