Watering your garden with drip irrigation is easy and saves time. Follow these steps to ensure that your garden is watered properly and it will thrive!
Note: for newly planted seeds and seedlings we recommend top watering for 2-3 weeks after planting until plants are established.
Step 1: Understanding Your Drip Irrigation System
The three lines of irrigation installed in school Learning Gardens slowly release water directly to plants’ roots beneath the soil surface through evenly spaced emitters. This watering technique will not wet the entire soil surface. Water drips into the soil below the surface to reach the plant’s roots. The irrigation system is connected with hoses to the nearest water source and all beds can be watered together with a hose splitter.
Step 2: Test Soil Moisture
Before you turn on your drip irrigation system, test the soil moisture level in a couple locations by pressing your finger about 2 inches into the soil. Feel for dampness. If the soil feels dry, it’s time to water.
Step 3: Connect the Hoses & Turn on the Water
Attach hoses to all the sections of the garden that need watering. You may be using a splitter to connect up to 4 sections of the garden at one time to your main water source. Once the hoses are all well-connected turn on the water to let it drip for 15-40 minutes depending on your soil, dryness, weather, etc. Once water is flowing from the bottom of your beds they have had enough water
Step 4: Turn Off the Water and Put the Hoses Away
Once watering is over turn off the water and unless it’s safe and secure to leave the garden hoses out in the garden, disconnect and drain the hoses and neatly coil them before returning them to storage. A little patience and extra time putting the hoses away neatly will save time and frustration trying to water with tangled hoses next time you come to water.
Step 5: Repeat
Get familiar with the process and train others to help! In a school garden, when students, staff, and families all know how to correctly use drip irrigation and can share the responsibility of watering, it makes the daily chore so much easier. If you are able to leave hoses out in the garden, we recommend you invest in an automatic water timer that will turn the water on and off for you on a schedule. It will save time and you will know the garden will be watered daily without managing a schedule.