Water plays a vital role in the growth of the vegetables. It is very important to run the physiological process of the plant. In the age of water scarcity, it is very difficult to fulfill the need for the vegetable plant which results in the form of low yield. So drip irrigation is the best solution for the scarcity of water.
The need for drip irrigation for vegetable garden
The watering of a vegetable garden is a hassle for the grower. Because he has to drag the hose between the garden or take much time to water each vegetable plant so it is also time-consuming. The drip irrigation system solves not only the dragging of hose but also saves time. moreover
- Once you install them and leave them at that place for the whole season.
- Open the main water drip once to water plants than no need to move the hose around each plant.
- Installation required less time, all you need is a pair of scissors to cut the hoses according to the lengths you need.
- Customizable systems save water by watering plants, not paths.
- It waters the vegetable garden itself just add a timer on it.
Advantages of drip irrigation for vegetable garden
Here are some advantages of drip irrigation for vegetable garden Vegetable Terrace Garden: An Amazing Approach to have Organic Vegetables.
Improves growth: It provides ideal growing condition when a small amount of water supply for a long time because of the continuous flow of water penetrates deeply to reach the root zone.
Protection of soil: Through this system, the soil is protected from erosion and excess leaching of essential nutrients.
Water-Saving: Drip irrigation system uses 30-50% less water than conventional watering method.
Adjustable: A drip irrigation system is quite adjustable according to the changing need for vegetable plants.
Fungal disease control: Fungus quickly grow under a moist condition so through this system chances of wet foliage reduce so spread of disease also control.
Weed control: water is only delivered where needed so spread of excess weeds also control.
Saves Time: Setting and moving sprinklers are not required. A timer can be added to the system for automatic watering.
How to Install a drip irrigation system for a vegetable garden?
There is various type of drip irrigation system for the vegetable garden. Some of them make use of small sprinkler parts to drip water to the small type of area while some other system utilizes flexible tubing to drip water on the bottom of the plant. First of all, we came to know the type of drip irrigation which is most suitable for the vegetable garden. There are four types of drip irrigation streamline for the vegetable garden and each system had its own advantages and disadvantages.
Porous Soaker Hose System for the vegetable garden: This system is basically made by using recycled automobile tires. A hose is attached to it and there are many tiny holes all over it. That’s how the water drips all over its body towards the soil. The system is very efficient and nature-friendly.
- Advantages: The main advantage of this system is, it is easily operate able which you can install by hand moreover water absorb down to the root of the soil and the rate of evaporation is minimum.
- Disadvantage: you have to take great care sometimes water may be stuck due to which mosquito lay eggs and area becomes populated with a mosquito. You can use mosquito repellent but it must not affect the vegetable garden. To overcome the problem installed tires must be clean.
Watermatic drip system for the vegetable garden: For a vegetable garden, this system is very effective to use because the rate of evaporation is quite low. In this system, you’re not wasting any water, instead, you’re using the same water twice to water the vegetable plants. The only setback of the system is you cannot install it by yourself rather then you have to take help from professionals.
Emitter drip system for the vegetable garden: If you grow vegetables whose crown is dense then you can use this system. It is very convenient to install. This system can be spread above the soil and underground as well. You need only a hose pipe.
All you have to do is create a small hole in the hose pipe. It should be small enough to drip water. Keep those holes about 12 to 15 inches apart. Now set a water connection. You can keep the hose below the soil, like 2-3 inches down, or you can just create a path above it.
But my suggestion would be burying the pipe. That way, you can have enough space to walk through the vegetable garden. If you keep the pipe above, you may have to create a separate path. The main thing to remember is that it uses a pipe of high quality which has maximum durability.
Micro Misting sprinklers for the vegetable garden: Micro misting sprinklers are less powerful versions then water sprinklers. It is mainly used for gourds. With the micro misting system, your vegetable garden will always stay moist and it feels like 24/7 dew drops. Usually, this type of moisturizing is required when you grow vegetables in a warm and hot area.
On the basis of installation in vegetable garden drip irrigation system divided into further two types.
Surface drip irrigation system for the vegetable garden: It is the most widely used drip irrigation system for annual vegetable crops. The design of these systems is quite simple. Thin-walled collapsible emitting hoses, commonly referred to as drip tapes are frequently used to irrigate vegetable crops. In this system, water flow remains constant and steady but for installation, you required a separate path to move around the vegetable garden.
Subsurface drip irrigation system for the vegetable garden: The subsurface system mostly uses for those vegetable gardens which is difficult to water due to steep slopes and paths. It is effective for those vegetable plants which have a shallow and fibrous root system. We make a trench then place the dripping system and cover it soil but ensure that the dripping pipe should be clean and flow of water remain constant otherwise as the flow of water breaks soil stuck in the pipe and cause blockage in the pipe. It also required professional expertise for installation.
Dripping system layout for vegetable garden
Before the installation of the dripping system make proper paperwork for it. You should take the right measurement of the area on which the system is installed. Then calculate the actual distance from the main water source. The same time also calculates the irrigation scheduling for vegetable plants which determine how often to irrigate and how much water to apply. The frequency at which water applies depends on the rate of consumption of water by vegetable plant and water holding capacity of the soil which differ from soil to soil type.
Soil texture is the primary factor influencing the amount of water stored. Available water is defined as the amount of water that plants can easily withdraw from the soil and use.
Water holding capacity of different soil:
|Soil Texture||Water holding capacity|
|Loam and silt loam||2.00-2.75|
Fine texture soil holds more water then coarse soil so coarse soil irrigates more frequently. Moreover, water holding capacity is also influenced by soil depth. Almost all vegetable root extract water from above 2ft of the soil profile. In fact, 75 to 95 percent of most vegetable plant roots are in the top 12 to 18 inches of the soil structure. Proper irrigation results in the plant root zone being refilled, but it should not be overfilled. Filling the root zone beyond its capacity results in leaching. The proper duration can be calculated from the plant root zone depth, soil texture, and water flow rate. After making a proper calculation assemble the thing used for installation.
The component used for dripping system installation in the vegetable garden
Here are the following components that we use for installation.
- Mainline distribution to the field: For subsurface dripping irrigation system polyvinyl chloride pipe is used while for surface dripping irrigation system aluminum pipe is used to deliver water from the main source.
- Header: It is common to use vinyl “lay flat” hose made up of polyethylene pipe used as the header. The hose is durable and long-lasting.
- Coupling: Plastic connectors are used to connect the drip line with the sub mainline.
- Dripline: Two basic types of drip lines are used for commercial vegetable production. Turbulent flow drip tape most commonly used. This polyethylene drip is thin-walled, collapses when not pressurized, and has emitters formed into it during manufacturing. Turbulent flow tapes (5/8-inch diameter) with a wall thickness of 8 mils cost $1.50 to $2.50 per 100 ft. Drip tapes are working at pressures ranging from 6 to 15 psi. Drip tubes with internally attached emitters are an alternative to turbulent flow drip tapes. Products with in-line or internally attached emitters are more expensive, but they often have better streamline flow and better clogging resistance. Tubes with internally attached emitters and a wall thickness of 8 mil cost from $2.50 to $4.00 per 100 ft.
- Filters: Keeping a drip irrigation system free of debris is critical because most of the time clogs will irreparably disable a system. Different types of filters are used to clean the water are self-cleaning suction devices, sand separators, media filters, screen filters and disk filters are used in vegetable drip irrigation systems.
- Water pressure reducer: They are used to reduce the water pressure up to 8-10 psi because if pressure increase to 30 psi it may burst the drip line. Both adjustable outlet and fixed outlets are used to reduce the water pressure.
- Valves: Watering several vegetable garden beds at a time different from one water source can be accomplished by using automatic or manually operated valves to open and close various zones. Both hand-operated valves or automated electric solenoid valves can be used to irrigate the vegetable garden.
- Water meter: It is also suggested that a water meter should be installed to monitor total water usage and flow rate in the dripping system.
- Anti-siphon device: It is necessary to use anti-siphon value when you use municipal water sources and when injecting fertilizer and chemical into the system.
- Chemical injectors: They are used for chemigation. In this practice fertilizer, pesticides and anti-clogging agents are injected into the drip irrigation system. The flow rate of pesticide and fertilizer injector are more than the clogging injector. Different types of injectors are used like a water-powered injector, pressure differential injector and positive displacement injector.
- Emitters: There are four different types of emitter used for dripping water in the vegetable garden. Three of these porous pipes, pre-installed emitter pipe and punch in emitter are used for a vegetable garden while the micro-irrigation system consists of micro-sprinkler heads that can direct water above the root system.
- 1/4″ tubing with pre-punched holes is used to supply water.
- Connecting tees and elbows
- Automatic timer
Installation of the drip irrigation system in the vegetable garden
Here are some key steps to install the dripping system in the vegetable garden:
- Attach hose bib with pressure reducer and anti-siphon filter. If you want to install an automatic timer, then install above the filter.
- According to your planned layout run the sub-main along the ground, starting from the hose bib. Using a small-blade knife, cut the tubing where the water system branches in two directions. Snap the elbows and tees into place. The sub-main is now installed.
- Next, attach emitter to the sub-main. By using a simple punch tool to punch the drip kit and push the barbed end of the emitter through. First, just install one emitter and run water through it for one hour to test the wetting diameter.it will give you an idea of spacing the water coverage but don’t forget to cap or crimp the end of sub-main before testing.
- When you need to water a large area sprinkler emitter can install anywhere. Attach small connecting barbs to the 1/4” tubing to the sub-main. While sprinkler emitter has a stake to raise the head well above the ground.
- Install “drip lines” (below) for area watering of vegetable plants. Simply punch a hole in the sub-main and snap on the drip line by using small connectors that come with the drip line.
Drip lines emit 1/2 gph through holes which spaced about one foot apart.
- Now seal the ends of sub-main. Sealing simply done by fold end back over itself and fasten with copper wire or hose clamp. Some kits also provide small plastic figure-eight style clips which use to secure the folded over tube end.
- A convenient possibility associated with a drip irrigation system is an automatic timer. Battery-powered timers allow you to set the frequency and period of watering, and permit you to line completely different watering schedules for various applications. With automatic shut-off, you’ll set the timer and leave. Installation is simple: simply screw the timer inline higher than the filter.
- A single drip line can irrigate a row of plants. For wide beds vegetable plants drip lines sometimes spaced 18-24 inches apart; 9-12 inches apart on coarse soils high in the sand. The drip tape will be left on prime of the soil or buried. If left on the surface of the soil, it’s a decent observation to install a subsurface drip irrigation system and drip tape with a mulch.
- Drip systems distribute about ½ gallon of water per minute per 100’ of drip tape. It can take as little as 2-3 hours and as long as 24 hours to systematically wet the root zone. It all depends on soil type, temperature, crop, and spacing of drip tape. Municipal water is well to use but assured that you have some type of anti-siphon device to inhibit contamination of the water source. Voles love to chew on the plastic tubing so store drip irrigation kits indoors or outdoors in a metal container.
Important tips to install a drip irrigation system for vegetable garden
- Prior to installation, leave the tube within the sun for a while to heat.
- Small plastic stoppers, also known as “goof plugs”, can be accustomed to plugging the holes on the sub-main if you decide to remove emitters from any section of the system.
- Reduce watering needs by planting vegetable plants near a hedge or wind barrier. Reducing wind speed will also reduce water loss by evaporation.
- Do not create a waterlogging condition. One inch of water per week will suffice for vegetable plants with average water requirements. A one gph emitter will deliver the same amount of water for about one hour. Hot climates often require the equivalent of 2” per week of rainwater. It is best to water deeply, but infrequently.
- There should be no puddles around the emitters.
- Check your system by sticking a pencil or sharpened stick into the soil between emitters to see whether moisture is present or not. When the soil becomes moist, the stick will slip easily into the soil. It is easy to add emitters or change their spacing.
- Use surface Drip irrigation systems, which tend to clog less than buried systems, and they are easy to lift when cultivating or planting new vegetable plants. Cover the soil with mulch to hide the tubing and further reduce evaporation. If you are going to use the subsurface dripping system for vegetables, leave the trenches unfilled until you have tested the complete system. Make a layout of the subsurface dripping system if buried.
- If you live in a colder climate, drain your system at season’s end. Simply unplug the end stoppers, or open the fold crimped end of the lines. Tie a plastic or cloth wrap over the open end of the drip line as a filter to keep it free from debris and bugs. Draining the drip sub line prevents any breakage due to freezing. Store the filter, pressure reducer, and timer indoors in the winter to avoid any damage.
- If your vegetable garden has raised bed you can use ‘elbows’ and ‘tees’ to lead branch lines up into the bed.
Maintenance of vegetable garden drip irrigation system:
Following maintenance is required on a daily basis for the streamline flow of the system.
- Check and clean the filter on a daily basis. A clogged screen filter can be clean with a stiff brush or soaking in water.
- The sand filter should be wash to remove particulates and organic contaminants.
- Check drip line leakage. Plenty of wet areas in the garden indicates drip leakage. It can be repaired by splicing with an inline connector or bypassed with a short piece of feeder tube.
- Use water treatment chemicals to avoid clogging which occurs due to excessive minerals.