Over the weekend we’ve completed our planting and set out our irrigation plans. In the previous years I watered our containers and beds the old fashioned way, standing over the garden with hose in hand fending off mosquitos and other biting pests. With the expansion of our plots we decided to try using soaker hoses and/or drip irrigation to aid with my quest of quenching the thirst of our budding garden. Having no idea what the best plan of action would be I hit up Google for some answers.
Plants develop deep, strong roots when they receive infrequent, deep water, but it’s not uncommon for novice gardener to water frequent, light burst that leads to shallow-rooted, weak plants. Soaker hoses and drip irrigation allow water to seep through, providing water to plants slowly without wasting water as a result of water runoff, evaporation or overspray. They work best for small garden plots on level ground because water doesn’t distribute evenly on sloped land. For ease of setup we went with soaker hoses, and this is some main lessons we found while we researched what to use.
Lesson 1 – do not exceed 100’ of a single length of hose, to maintain a even flow of water. The faucet can handle more than 500 ‘ of soaker hoses ran at the same time, just not in a single run.
Lesson 2 – a soaker hose work properly when it’s not under full pressure coming from the house, keep it around 10 psi, our house it easily over 35. This can be reduced by adding a pressure reducing attachment before you attach your soaker hose. I found that just turner my faucet a half a turn gets me close to the right level.
Lesson 3 – organic mulch is a must for your soaker hose to work at its peak performance.
Lesson 4 – an inch or two of water applied once a week usually is sufficient for most vegetable gardens in Texas. To find out how long you should run the water in order to get enough into the ground, put an empty fish can (sardines or tuna) under the hose to how long it takes to fill up. These cans are roughly an inch deep.