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I thought before I start planting and and sowing my vegetable plot this season I would investigate irrigation systems.
I don't want to be watering my plot all summer with a watering can/Hose. I have also read that this means i'm also watering all those weeds as well!
Has anyone had any success with underground systems? Research has pointed me in the direction of 'drip irrigation' which seems to me to be planting old milk bottles with holes in around my plot.
Is there anyway of 'planting' a hose underground and then just turning it on and watering say 1 foot below the surface? Also how would root vegetables like/dislike this? Would it cause any rot etc?
There is a porous hose on the market which I have had some success watering a difficult to reach flower border. You bury it about half an inch below the surface. I'm not sure if it would be able to provide the amount of water vegetables need to grow well
I use leaky hose around the beans, burying most of it just below the surface and leaving the end connector sticking out to plug a hosepipe into. I have also used it around the potatoes, grown in lines. I have never used it around root veg apart from potatoes. I also have one permanently placed around the rows of raspberries.
I am planning setting up a drip system around my garden this year. I received a Christmas present of a Gardena water timer which fixes to your outside tap. I did some on line research and this timer brand had the best reports as some other brands tended to let water into the unit so breaking down after a few months, not cost effective. I will then buy black hose that will take the water from the outside tap to the flower beds or pots, and from that a narrower hose can trail from the main pipe work from which small sprinklers or drippers are attached. All the hose can be buried under the soil so it will not be too visible. The system is put together with a series of connectors and the main timer may need to connected to a water pressure reducer which helps constant flow. It will obviously be an initial cost outlay but some websites offer competitive prices compared to garden centres. I can then set it up to automatically come on several times a day for short periods, hence being more economical with water as it will deliver the after right where it is needed. I intend then using my water butt saved water to top up where needed in the hot weather. If you are after a more deeper depth water system this can be more costly as I have been advised you may need tougher hose that can remain buried over the winter and not break down in frosts. Worth seeking advice from companies such as Gardena and Hozelock to see what is available. Good luck - it is sure a good plan and will be more effective and labour saving all round.
Thanks for the idea's.
The trouble with drip feed/hose's is that you are watering the soil on the surface, I was hoping to find something that waters the roots directly, thereby reducing water loss due to evaporation and also to surpress weed growth.
I use leaky hosepipe from Lidl when they have the gardening offers, and then fit with hozelock connectors.
We have the Claber leaky pipe hoses in our raised beds, these are attached to the garden tap on a timer. The hoses can either be buried or laid on the top of the soil. They are very good for root vegetables eg parsnips no problem. System is pricey to set up if you have a timer but well worth it especially down here in south west france.
There are loads of different drip irrigation systems. You can go home made, or you can go semi professional. Semi pro DIY drip irrigation systems aren't that expensive. If you go homemade (ie punching holes in pipes and milk bottles), you're going to risk uneven watering as the release of water is unregulated. Purpose made drippers regulate the amount of water that's released, meaning you can be really precise. You can also use these in conjunction with a water timer, meaning its completely automatic.
You mentioned as well you're worried about water loss due to evaporation. Drip systems can be installed on the surface, then covered and hidden with mulch. This retains the moisture and stops evaporation.
Other people are mentioning soaker hose/leaky hose. This is a good way to get something set up nice and quick, and is good for starting out and experimenting, but there are two problems with it:
1) There is no regulation. It is just porous pipe. Watering can be uneven and can only really be used in short runs.
2) It is just mushed up rubber. It only has a life of about 4 years, meaning you have to buy more and spend time installing it again.
I would really recommend using a semi pro drip system using purpose built drip emitters. I'll put some links below to help guides on drip irrigation systems from suppliers of semi pro stuff. I'd really recommend having a look. As I said they're not massively expensive (about £70 for a small garden up to £200 for what I would call an average garden with a timer), and when its installed, you take all the hassle away.
Hope this helps guys and girls. Give us a shout if you want to ask anything .