Over the years we have put in dozens of vegetable gardens but it has only been in the last few years that we have decided to bite the bullet and invest both the effort and the money to install a timed drip system. Here are three reasons why we are convinced it has been more than worth it:
- Drip systems save lots of water and time. Years ago I used to flood our garden rows with a single hose laying it in a row and returning time and again to move it. Too often I would get focused on other projects and forget I left it running only to return and discover the rows had been washed out. My forgetfulness often wasted large amounts of precious water and flooded areas between rows and places that were unnecessary. Too much water often washes away topsoil, compost and nutrients instead of allowing them to stay in the areas where they belong.
- Drip systems water only the plants you want to grow. This might sound obvious, but it was profound to me. Last week as I was preparing to lay my system I stopped to talk to Bill Meeker at the community garden at church. (See entry #70 ) He told me something so simple that I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it before. He instructed me to install my drip line first and then plant my seeds or starts in the wet spots at each drip location. By doing this he said, you will efficiently water desired locations at the base of vegetable plants where water can soak deep into the root systems without watering or encouraging unwanted weeds. I thought it was a brilliant idea and took his counsel.
- Simple hose timers automatically turn off water when you forget to. Maybe it is my age, but I constantly get busy and forget to change water from one drip system to another on time. Often one set of rows get too much water while others don’t get enough. By incorporating simple hose timers which cost less than ten dollars apiece I can be free to focus on my next project without doing damage to the garden. That for me is well worth the extra expense for the peace of mind it brings.