Can You Save Money, Time and Keep Your Plants Healthy with a Drip Irrigation System?
We also can't control when it rains or how often, but we can ensure our plants get enough water. By watering them on a regular basis and ensuring they don't dry out. We need to understand how much water a plant needs and make sure we provide the correct amount. This is where a drip irrigation system is very handy and helpful.
For my indoor plants I use to use a hand held water meter and ensure they needed water before I watered them. Now I can pretty much tell by looking at the top of the soil or lifting them up. If the pot is really light it needs water. I've also learned how much water they need. Of course a bigger pot needs more water.
By watching your outdoor plants as you water them you can learn how much water they need. If you don't give them enough they will dry out and if you give them too much they will get water logged. From my experience most outdoor plants can tolerate more water than not enough. This is because the excess will seep into the ground. If you have hanging baskets that allow water to flow through, the excess water will escape. That's why it is a good idea to water hanging baskets every day or second day if they blooming and it's hot out.
I always have the best intentions to water the plants but sometimes I forget and they dry out if it hasn't rained in awhile. The other problem I have is that I start the sprinkler and I forget to turn it off. Usually, I remember before I go to bed but one time I woke up in the morning and the sprinkler was still on. Not only did I waste a lot of water but I felt pretty silly. Now if I'm really busy and I'm worried I might forget I turn on a timer in the kitchen. Once it goes off I remember to turn the water off or move the sprinkler. This is helpful if you have watering restrictions in the summer and you only have a few hours to water your entire yard.
With a drip irrigation system, you can deliver the water you need to your plants all at the same time and you don't have to worry about moving the sprinkler to different parts of your garden. Once the system is connected you just need to turn the tap on and it waters your entire garden. Just make sure you remember to turn it off.
If you want to make your life even simpler you can add a sprinkler or irrigation timer your system. The timer will allow you to set how often and for how long to water your plants. As summer approaches and it gets hotter out you can increase the frequency or the duration of the watering.
A timer is also helpful if you have watering restrictions in your area and you aren't around or you are too busy doing other things. In our area we are allowed to water the lawn and garden twice a week early in the morning and late at night. I think the morning time is 5:00 AM to 8:00 AM, there's no way I'm getting up at 5:00 AM to water my lawn. Maybe watch a soccer match or the world cup but not water my lawn :-)
Watering timers are also great if you are away or on vacation. Nothing worse than spending all spring to get your garden looking great and when you come home from your vacation your plants are wilted or dead.
Some sprinkler timers have a rain delay feature. If they sense that it's raining they won't turn on during that cycle. This will save you money and stop your neighbors from asking why you are watering your garden while it is raining.
Our first irrigation system was small, we used it to water two hanging baskets. It was a bit of an experiment to learn about drip irrigation systems and see if we could set one up. It worked great and it saved us the money we invested in the baskets when we went on vacation for three weeks last summer. This year we will be creating a system for the garden in the back of our house. Which will save me time and money. No more dragging the hose out the backyard and set up the sprinkler.
You can save time with an irrigation system because you no longer need to move the sprinkler around your yard and garden every thirty minutes. You can just turn the water on and then turn it off when it has enough water. If you have an automatic timer you don't even need to worry about turning the water on and off, it's all automatic. It's like turning your thermostat to 70 degrees and never being worried about the heat or cold.
You can save money because the water is never wasted. The right amount of water goes to the roots. You have less evaporation and a lot less over watering.
If you want to read about the first irrigation system, please read this article on how to install a drip irrigation system.