There is no question that gardening is a lot of fun, but one must know that it’s that type of hobby that comes with a great deal of responsibility. Potting your plants is only a fraction of what gardening is all about and the truth is, it is just the beginning of it all. Once you are done with that and your plants start to grow, you have to stick around for maintenance. This is when the real challenge comes in.
Maintenance includes trimming your plants, applying pesticides and fertilizer when necessary, and of course, making sure that they receive enough water. Watering your plants is easy, particularly if your garden isn’t that big, but it’s a simple task that can be daunting if your garden is a bit larger, or if you don’t always have the time to do it.
In other cases, you may have the time, but you might be giving your plants unequal amounts of water. The occurrence of such issues might urge you to get an automatic irrigation system for your garden.
Steps to Set Up Automatic Irrigation for Flower Garden
1. Think Ahead
If you’re planning to install an automatic irrigation system at some point, then consider that plan even while you’re still starting with your garden. If you think you don’t want one now, then consider building your garden in such a way that you won’t have a hard time making space for it if ever you change your mind in the future. Take note that having straight beds will be more efficient.
2. Pick The Right Type Of System
There are different types of automatic irrigation systems out there. You may choose from sprinklers, microjet and spray systems, or drip irrigation systems. In this article, we will focus on setting up a drip irrigation system, since these are ideal for smaller gardens and if you want to water individual plants since this allows delivery of water directly to the roots of plants.
3. Sketch Out Your Garden And Plan Out Your System
Measure the size of your garden, and make your plan based on that. In your plan, you must consider the root zones of all the plants you wish to water. If this is your first time setting up an automatic irrigation system, you can start small for now, and add more devices or tubings later on once you’ve gotten the hang of it.
4. Start From The Water Source
Screw a filter, a pressure regulator, and a timer together, and attach the entire assemblage to your source, which could be a faucet or a valve. After this, take a female hose adapter, which will bring water to your entire system through the mainline or hose.
5. Make Trenches
Use a shovel to make trenches along with those areas where you want your system to run. Put stakes where you must to secure the hose.
6. Build The Branches
From your mainline, build the branches of your system using elbows or T tubing connectors. All you have to do is cut your line at the point where you want to make the branch, attach the hose to the T tubing connector or the elbow, and attach the other half to the other end of the connector.
7. Add The Emitters
For this step, you will need a hole punch that is suitable for plastic. Locate the spots in your system wherein you want the water to emerge, punch a hole, and secure the emitter. If you accidentally punch unnecessary holes, have goof plugs ready to seal them.
8. Use a Drip Hose
If you don’t want to drive individual emitters into your line and prefer a more flexible system, you may choose to purchase a hose with emitters already built-in at about every 6 inches of its length. To install this, punch a hole in your main line, put in a ¼-inch barbed connector, and attach tubing to the other end of the connector. Position the tubing close to the plants you wish to water.
9. Cap The Line’s End
Turn off the water. Take an end clamp and put on the open end of the hose. Then, slide the end clamp’s other hole over the folded piece to cap the end of your system.
10. Cover Tubing With Mulch
Do this step using about 2 inches of mulch. This allows your tubing to be hidden, while at the same time permitting the soil to absorb more of the moisture from the irrigation system.
Steps to Maintain an Automatic Irrigation System
Having an automatic irrigation system will give you more free time and will allow you to go on a vacation without worrying about your plants, but once in a while, you also have to check on it to make sure that it lasts long and runs smoothly all the time.
- Turn on the system so that you can easily detect clogged parts.
- Check the pressure. It must be around 20 to 50 psi. Operating a drip system at high pressures for a long time may cause some parts to pop off, leading to water wastage. To fix this, you may install a regulator, or change the current one. Low pressures will lead to reduced performance. If this is the issue, remove the regulator or get a regulator with a higher pressure threshold.
- Check the filters. If the filters are clogged, flush them until they are clean.
- Check the emitters. Clogged emitters may be cleaned by soaking them in vinegar.
- Flush your system. This is important to do now and then, to prevent the buildup of bacteria, algae, and chemicals (if you are supplying your plants with nutrients through the system). Acids may be used in this process, but make sure to be careful if ever you’re going to use such chemicals.
- Check for damaged parts. If you find damaged emitters, tubing, or fittings, you may take this time to replace them.
What makes an automatic irrigation system special is that it allows you to have a more efficient way of watering your plants. Sure, installing an automatic irrigation system for your garden may cost you a few more bucks, but there is no doubt that it’s going to make your life a lot less complicated if you want to make sure that you’re taking good care of your plants.