How you need to water the plants, how often you need to irrigate and how much water you need to apply, as well as how to optimize the watering process – all these questions are answered in this article..
Quite a lot has been said about the need to water the garden. In this article we will show you how to do it correctly. To do this, at the beginning, we will consider the norms and cyclicality of watering various plants, and then we will tell you how, based on the information received, to organize competent irrigation, and with the expectation that this will be done automatically.
Watering modes of plants
The demand of plants for water is not, strictly speaking, constant. It largely depends on external factors – humidity, temperature, wind speed and direction, amount of precipitation. Indeed, rains and high humidity in some cases can significantly reduce the required amount of additional moisture introduced into the soil, and high temperature and wind, on the contrary, increasing evaporation from the leaf surface and drying up the soil, will create conditions that require additional watering. However, first of all, when choosing an irrigation regime, one should take into account the individual water requirements of various plant species..
Conventionally, all garden crops are divided into three groups:
- Heat resistant, withstands air drought well. This group includes: melons – watermelon, melon and pumpkin, vegetables – corn, beans, peas, etc. Plants of this group do not need frequent watering.
- Crops with a well-developed root system. The depth of root development is not important, the main thing is their total volume, which allows them to absorb moisture from a large volume of soil. This category includes: cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and root vegetables – carrots, beets and potatoes, as well as some types of greens, such as parsley. Plants in this group require abundant, regular, but not frequent watering..
- Plants with a weak root system, unable to independently extract water from the soil. These include: onion, garlic, cabbage, radish, lettuce, radish. Accordingly, such plants should be watered often, but not very abundantly..
There are certain watering rates, it is convenient to present them in the form of the following table:
Plant type Irrigation rate, l / m2 Cyclic watering Notes Cucumbers before budding 20-30 Once a week Watering is carried out with little or no precipitation Cucumbers during flowering and fruiting 30-40 Two times per week Watering is not carried out during heavy rains Tomatoes 50 Once a week When planting seedlings in the ground, until they have taken root, the frequency of watering should be 2-3 times a week. In the central and northern regions of Russia, as well as in the southern regions with a lack of sun, watering with the beginning of fruit ripening should be stopped Peppers and eggplants 50 Once a week When planting seedlings in the ground, until they have taken root, the frequency of watering should be 2-3 times a week. Watering must be carried out until frost Carrots and beets 60-70 Once every 10 days Watering should be regular so that the fruits do not crack Onion and garlic 30-40 Two times per week Watering should be started before the leaves appear. The norm in this case is 10–20 l / m2 Cabbage 30-40 Two times per week Watering breaks should not be allowed Potatoes 20-30 Once a week Watering is carried out from the beginning of budding until the end of the growth of tops
It should be remembered that when the plants show visible signs of a lack of moisture – yellowing of leaves, dropping of ovaries or fruits, it is almost impossible to save the harvest. Therefore, it is necessary to irrigate the plants in a timely manner and in the right amount, even if it seems to you that everything is in order and the plants can wait with watering. Thus, taking into account the irrigation rates and external factors, it is necessary to select the irrigation regime that is necessary.
Organization of an automatic watering system for plants
We figured out the regime of watering plants. Based on the above table, it will not be difficult to provide the plants with the required amount of moisture. However, this is easy to do only in one case – when you are constantly on the site and have the opportunity to control the entire process. It is quite obvious that if you come to the dacha, at best, once a week for the weekend, then there will be many problems. They can be solved in one way – by organizing an automatic irrigation system on the site. In the first two articles: “Automatic garden irrigation system: storage tank with water level control” and “Automatic garden irrigation system: summer water supply system” we have already described how to organize the constant availability and delivery of water to the beds. It remains only to organize directly watering the plants.
Today, the following types of irrigation are most widespread:
- Furrow irrigation. It consists in the fact that water is supplied to specially prepared recesses between the rows of planted plants – furrows. This method does not require special preparation of the irrigation system itself; water is poured in any available way. Only the beds themselves are prepared. With this method of irrigation, the earth is moistened fairly evenly. It is possible to automate the furrow irrigation process, but it is not advisable, since this method is rather uneconomical, and, perhaps, already outdated..
- Drip irrigation. Water is continuously delivered in small portions directly to the root zone of the plants. The process is so optimized that, despite its continuity, it is the most economical and labor-intensive. The organization of drip irrigation requires the installation of a special system. You can read about how to do it yourself, for example, in the article “Do-it-yourself drip irrigation. Modern way of irrigation “. With proper installation and configuration, the irrigation process itself does not need any additional automation.
- Sprinkling. If all plants preferred drip irrigation, then they could stop at it. But, for example, cucumbers, cauliflower or lettuce are more loved when they are evenly watered on top, affecting the leaves and fruits. This method of irrigation is called sprinkling. Except for some vegetable crops, all types of lawns are watered exclusively by sprinkling. Accordingly, it is to this method, or rather its organization and automation, that we will devote the final part of our article.
The easiest way to water your plants with a sprinkler is to use a watering can. Despite its obvious simplicity, this method has serious disadvantages:
- you need to manually drag a considerable amount of water, especially if the garden is large enough;
- you can water from a watering can only directly yourself, that is, it is impossible to leave your site for a long time.
You can get rid of the first of the described problems if you install sprinkler installations. There are quite a few different types of them – for lawns or beds, with circular or cross spraying, all of them can be bought without any problems in gardening stores. Generally speaking, in some cases, home-made devices are quite suitable for sprinkling. For example, for cucumbers, a special trellis is built, designed to maintain the tops in an upright position. It is quite possible to fix a pipe with holes drilled along the entire length in the upper part of the trellis. When water is supplied to the pipe, the cucumbers will receive the moisture they need, and the most suitable method for them is sprinkling.
The second problem remains – the need for constant presence – someone has to open and close the pipe at the right time. However, there is also a simple solution – an electronic timer for watering. We already mentioned it in the first article. These devices are not only single-channel, that is, designed for one pipe, but also multi-channel with a separate program for each outgoing branch. By connecting such a device to the supply pipe and programming it to turn on and off at the right times, you completely automate the process of watering your beds. All you have to do is time the valve in the open state to ensure that the required amount of water is passed through. This, and, perhaps, the periodic replacement of batteries – that’s all the hassle of maintaining such an automatic irrigation system. It is clear that, ideally, the entire system could be connected via a rain sensor to prevent overflow of plants. This is also not difficult to do. However, knowing the weather forecast for the next 10 days, you can always adjust the operating mode of your irrigation system, taking into account possible precipitation.
Thus, the arrangement of an automatic irrigation system is divided into the following stages:
- Correct organization of the beds. At the very beginning, it is necessary to decide what and where to plant, so that drought-resistant and moisture-loving plants do not grow on the same bed at the same time, or, for example, different crops, some preferring drip irrigation, while others prefer sprinkling.
- Installation of a drip irrigation system on appropriate beds with the organization of a continuous water supply.
- Installation of sprinkler systems with the organization of automatic water supply by timer.
By doing all this, you will not only ensure yourself a high harvest, but also free up a huge amount of time for other activities and leisure..