Host: Gary Bachman, Ornamental Horticulture Specialist
Smart watering is essential in a hot Mississippi summer today on Southern Gardening.
Traditionally garden plants are watered based on an inconsistent drench and dry approach. Delay in flowering to poor vegetable performance can be related to inconsistent watering. A much better approach is to maintain soil moisture with slow and steady water delivery. An easy way to do this is using smart irrigation to supply water to the plants and not the surrounding area. By keeping the root zone consistently moist plants are not stressed and uses up to 70% less water compared to using overhead sprinklers. Smart irrigation systems use emitters to regulate the amount of water being applied, usually measured in gallons per hour (gph). These come in different delivery rates based on plant water needs. Smart irrigation is a very effect method of watering containers. Soaker hoses are another effective method of smart irrigation and come in two types, “leaky pipe” or drip hose. Leaky pipe “sweats” and delivers from ½ to ¾ gallons/minute for each 100 foot section. Drip hose actually has emitters built into the pipe and delivers water at set rates. Both are effective at watering vegetable or flower gardens. If you have an existing irrigation system, conversion kits are available to convert to smart irrigation. Smart irrigation systems are easy to install and starter kits are available. These kits contain tubing, emitters, timers, and tools are available at home improvement stores and garden centers and are easy to add additional components. Until next time, I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman enjoying our Southern Gardening.