Water is life. For the plants we grow, water is very important, can’t live without it.
Unlike weeds, which have adapted to the finer senses and are content with just rainfall, most cultivated plants will not develop and flower properly without irrigation, even if they won’t die.
In this material, we will talk about the types of irrigation versus how to properly water the soil in order to get the most benefit from water.
WHAT ARE THE WAYS OF WATERING?
First, let’s see what types of irrigation there are, and the advantages, disadvantages of each.
Today, there are several main types of irrigation used in the care of the garden and its use.
- Watering with a hose.
- Sprinkling (moving it from place to place periodically while we put a swivel sprayer with a hose and snooze on a lounger with newspaper)
- Drip irrigation (pretty much the most advanced type with the most different variations: root irrigation, subsurface irrigation, etc.)
- Snow retention (this is also the most realistic type of irrigation, except that it is less obvious to you and me, and sometimes even more specific to the soil).
So, we understand the types of watering, but before dissecting their advantages and disadvantages, let’s talk about the complexities of watering.
For example, its regularity, because even the best and longest watering can have a negative effect, if it is not regular, it is only temporary and the soil can dry out, killing the tips of the roots, which then stimulate their growth, causing the plant to suffer.
Your local climate also plays an important role: if you already have frequent rainfall, why over-wet the soil?
Or, if your soil type is swampy and it is already full of water – how much more can it get? If the soil has a lot of sand, it needs more water, if it has a lot of clay, it needs less water.
Important: Soil with a lot of lime or sand dries twice as often, but clay dries twice as fast.
Water is not only a nutrient. We all know that plants consume substances dissolved in water, don’t we? Water also provides protection against the sun’s harsh rays.
Unless, of course, it is minimized by unskilled watering. You can’t water your garden on a hot day because the water lowers the temperature of the soil, sometimes literally knocking it to the breaking point.
How convenient, just turn on the tap and water the plants. In the best case, at the roots or even directly on the leaves, not under the sun is blazing hot. In fact, such watering does more harm than good.
The soil is watered for long periods of time to a depth of 8-12inch (20-30 cm), which is sufficient for most crops, but what a shock the plants will feel Try being under a cold shower after a run in the summer heat. Watering with a hose has only one benefit – we moisten the soil, but no more.
If you want to minimize damage to your plants, use the hose only in the evening, when the soil doesn’t get hot from the summer heat, and place the hose on the very surface of the soil, near the stems. And use as little water as possible to prevent water from washing into the soil, keeping it moist and also cooling the hot soil.
It sometimes happens that the proud owner of a large estate often hides in the shade and generously sprinkles cold rain on the garden.
No, if the drops are large, warm, pumped from a barrel, heated, and darkened during the day, that’s fine, but if the water is cold, like ice from a hose? In this case, the leaves may even shrivel.
The benefits of sprinkling are undeniable, especially if such plots are planted with “thick-skinned” crops such as potatoes, corn, and root crops.
Then, by sprinkling irrigation, you can exclude the area from waterlogging, salinization of the soil, and make more use of the site, since the water drops fall from high places, although only a few millimeters, still penetrate deep into the soil.
In addition, by sprinkling, preferably in the evening, with water heated to room temperature with dissolved fertilizer, you can also carry out a fairly effective foliar spraying. This should not be forgotten either.
In addition to those disadvantages we have already described, its disadvantages are too much water, the need to soak an area unit, high labor costs – you have to stand a watering hose – sprinkler for a long time, or high costs if additional sprinklers will be provided.
This method is effective and very but mostly used in small areas, i.e. with a few shrubs and flowering plants alone or in the form of flower beds.
The most common use of root watering is for cottagers, who come to the cottage for a day or two, then a whole week, and sometimes leave their loved ones for a longer period of time. And if the fertilizer is inexplicable, but can be made in advance, then watering is usually more difficult.
But as we all know, laziness is the engine of progress, so dozens, if not hundreds, of different devices have now been developed that can hold water while you are away, spend it slowly, pour it into the root layer, and if it rains, keep it balanced at a certain level in the container.
Let’s start with the devices that can be purchased – usually, these are cones of different sizes, with holes of different sizes on their surface, depending on the diameter of the cone. For greater effect, the cheapest Chinese solar flashlights are attached to the ends of such cones. They should remind the gardener to water when walking in the garden.
The nature of the cone – you have to dig the cone into the bushes very carefully so as not to damage the roots of the plants, fill the top with water, and then quietly go to your apartment. The water slowly seeps through these small holes – the fewer the holes, by the way, the less water is wasted – and nourishes the plant in the root zone.
The advantages are obvious: the water stays on-site longer, but the disadvantages are the same: the water sometimes evaporates the next day in the heat, and if you cover it with a lid, then the rain will not fill it, and of course, the price – it will be more expensive.
But why pay when you can do it the other way, and not less efficiently? Everyone has a dozen plastic bottles with conical necks at home, although I think straight ones would work. Cut off the bottom and punch a dozen holes a few millimeters wide in the bottle (preferably with a hot awl).
Then – most importantly – you dig in those places on the plot where the plants grow so as not to damage the roots. Fill with soil, you can use fertilizer, strictly following the instructions and the season.
My advice is to tightly close the open part with a mesh, which we use to keep mice away – and then neither debris nor insects will get in there. Just fill the container with water and drive from Dacha and you can sleep peacefully in a day or two or three without thinking about watering.
This system is complicated, on the one hand – it is very cheap, and on the other hand – it is ridiculously expensive. First of all, the point is: water (sometimes dissolved with nutrients) is pumped directly to the biting area of the plant through a pipe with holes (drip head).
The result is that it saves time (compared to hand watering), saves a lot of water (if the water is not free, you can feel the difference), and the plants are happy – in their productive zone, water flows through the drippers, not a lot, not a little, but the necessary amount.
These pipes, drip tips, can be placed directly on top of the soil or even buried a little deeper, but more often than not, this is how the water (and perhaps the nutrients dissolved in it) will slowly flow out of it.
Drip irrigation may not be particularly necessary for a hundred acres planted with cucumbers, but it makes perfect sense for perennials, vineyards, and similar crops, especially those located where the terrain “jumps” and water tends to flow downhill or pool in any holes.
In addition, by supplying water through drip irrigation, the process is largely continuous, so there is no sharp increase or decrease in the dose of water and the plants get the water they need.
About the nature of the method itself in terms of cost. In his villa, nothing could be simpler: place a bucket capable of holding two hundred liters in the roof gutter, or better yet, connect two gutters together, raise the bucket a meter or half a meter, and punch as many holes as possible in the bottom of the bucket to allow the water drops to scatter everywhere.
The job is done, all that remains is to fill the bucket with water, cover it with mosquito netting to prevent debris from entering and clogging the dripper, and forget about it until the bucket is filled or when nutrients need to be added to the water.
Option two is more complicated but timeless. First, you dig a well with water, then lay out the garden, heat the 500-liter bucket with a pump and water to 77°F (25-28°C), and have supplied all the trees with drip water.
There is a downside – if the power is cut off, the pump stops running and then you have to buy a generator, but sometimes on sandy soil, it’s really worth it.
A more sophisticated method of drip irrigation that is essentially the same thing, but instead of laying on the surface or sinking slightly into the soil, the drip tube is almost completely buried there. This method is ideal for irrigating plants with deeper roots, again, walnuts and the like.
It has been observed that drip irrigation with the tube heavily pressed into the soil has a slightly less increase in plant volume, but a greater increase in yield. Apparently, plants simply do not need to invest extra effort in establishing a strong root system and groundmass to expend on yield.
Strangely enough, snow retention, a seemingly rather insignificant activity, is also considered to be additional irrigation. Snow usually accumulates a lot in spring, but negligent owners roll down the slopes to their neighbors, washing away even young plants and exposing the roots.
So don’t be lazy, in early March, walk along the snow drain in your boots and stomp on it, creating a roller barrier through which meltwater won’t fly over, but will stay, enriching your soil moisture again. Again – this is more important in a country house where almost no one shows up until May, and then only potatoes are started.
In addition to trampling snow, you can take care of and plant fall debris, leaving no more than 25-35inch (70-90 cm) of debris, which can well delay the snow, even if it is not a slope, but a simple flat area.
Also, spruce: there are many spruces everywhere, left by winter celebrations, you can scatter them around the site or simply walk and crumble the snow over the whole surface area so it will melt more slowly.
That’s really all the tips for watering. If you said you didn’t mention watering cans, then they are not as common today. Half of all gardeners now have back pain, and besides, it’s easy to wash out the roots when watering. But if you think this is a drawback then feel free to write about it in the comments.
In general, I hope to get more comments and tips from you guys. For example, I heard of a man who spread rolls of moss on the ground and watered it before he left his large property. Maybe you have done something similar?