Even hydration: Overhead irrigation evenly distributes water across the entire surface of plants, ensuring that they receive a sufficient amount of water, particularly in the early stages of growth. Drip lines, on the other hand, provide slow and steady watering, delivering water directly to the roots. This can help prevent overwatering and underwatering in the hoop house.
Moisture management: Drip lines deliver water directly to the base of the plant, reducing soil splash and minimizing the risk of soil-borne disease transmission. This makes drip lines ideal for plants that are sensitive to wet leaves or susceptible to waterborne diseases. By using drip lines, farmers can avoid the risks associated with soil splashing related to runoff or other ways, ensuring that the plants have the right amount of water without creating excess moisture that might cause the spread of plant diseases.
Cost-effective: Overhead irrigation and drip lines are both cost-effective and easy to install. Add the benefit of daily labor saving by reducing hose movement, dedicated irrigation lines save you from dragging hoses in, out, and around the hoop houses. Furthermore, this reduces potential plant damage and reduces the risk of spreading fungal issues around the hoop house.
Better plant growth: The combination of overhead irrigation and drip lines provides plants with the right amount of water, making them grow faster, stronger, and healthier. They also have better resistance to waterborne diseases and pests. In summary, hoop house farmers use both overhead irrigation and drip lines to provide better hydration and moisture management for their plants. This combination ensures proper moisture distribution and helps to prevent water-related diseases and pests while promoting better plant growth.
FAQs about irrigation systems.
What is a drip irrigation system?
A drip irrigation system is the best way to conserve water while providing even watering to crops or landscaping. It is built of simple component parts that either use inline drip emitters or individual emitters for each plant. A properly set up drip irrigation system can save time, money, water, and heartache in the garden or on the farm.
What are the different components of a drip irrigation system?
A drip irrigation system consists of a water source, supply line, connectors, and either drip tubing or individual emitters. Best practices add to this list; inline filters, pressure regulators/compensators, and a timer. A pressure compensator can either be a device installed at the water source or drip tubing that has self-contained regulators in each emitter.
What is the best drip irrigation system?
The best drip system is one that takes the size and needs of your space into account. Here at Bootstrap Farmer we carry two kits that meet most needs. The raised bed watering kit works well for home gardens and small landscape plantings and can be expanded by connecting up to 5 kits together.
Our greenhouse drip irrigation kit can be used inside a growing structure or for row crops outdoors and can be customized to accommodate a wide range of bed sizes, row lengths, and numbers of rows.
How do you install a drip irrigation system?
Your drip irrigation system should come with instructions for installation. Our instructions are available online, and we have videos of the installation process available on our YouTube channel.
How does a drip irrigation system work?
Drip irrigation works by slowly dispersing small amounts of water that can soak the surrounding area, avoiding runoff and, in most cases, overwatering. It provides the water directly at the roots of the plant instead of being applied to the leaves and pathways like common sprinklers. Read this in-depth article to learn more about how drip irrigation works.
What type of hose is used in a drip irrigation system?
Drip irrigation uses special supply line tubing. If you need to, you can use a high-quality garden hose to get the water from your source to the beginning of your supply line.
What type of timer is used in a drip irrigation system?
There are a few types of timers used for drip irrigation. There is a simple battery-powered type that hooks up directly to a hose spigot and will run for a set amount of time every day. The more useful version of this allows you to run the water for a set amount of time once every few days or even once a week.
The highest end of the timer types will be solar-powered for longevity and security. These have multiple zones and much more extensive programming capabilities. This allows you to customize your watering schedule for thirsty crops or drought-tolerant plants and often has rain sensors to avoid excessive watering when the weather has done it for you.
What type of water source is needed for a drip irrigation system?
Water should come from a clean pressurized water source like a city or municipal or county water source. A minimum of 12-50 PSI of pressure is needed when tested at the source to run most drip systems.
Water pressure testers can be found in hardware store plumbing sections. When running water to your hoop house or garden, consider installing a frost-free hydrant in/near the beginning of your drip system for easy access if freezes are common in your area.
What type of maintenance is required for a drip irrigation system?
High-quality drip systems are pretty easy to maintain. It is good practice to walk your lines while the water is running once a week to check for leaks or loose connections. You will see more significant puddling if there are issues.
Cleaning filters should happen on an as-needed basis, depending on your water supply, this could be monthly or once a season. At the end of each season, you should remove the figure 8 end caps from each line and flush the system to avoid build-up. If you will not be using the system during the rainy season, flush and drain as much water as you can before reclosing all end caps so critters don’t move into your cozy system.
Always flush and drain the lines before storing in the off-season.
Note: To use drip irrigation with hard water, you may need to flush the system periodically with an acid solution, acid injection is also an option. Fertigation equipment can be used to do this acid injection. Treating hard water is going to be an added expense, and it is best to look into your water hardness before installing the system.
Why should I use drip tubing instead of drip tape or soaker hose?
Pressure Compensating Drip line with a Check Valve (PCD wCV) is more expensive than traditional drip tape, and there are many reasons why it is a better choice. PCD with CV is designed to run at many different water pressure levels from 12-50 psi. With drip tape, you have the option to purchase it at a specific water pressure level, and it only works at that level.
PCD with CV has a check valve that closes at a pressure under 2.5 psi. This prevents the water inside the pipe from draining out in low areas creating uneven watering. It also prevents the draining water from creating suction on emitters that are higher in elevation. By not creating a vacuum at higher emitters, the emitters do not backflow and suck in dirt and debris.
The emitters can be oriented in any position, many drip tapes require the emitter to point up, or they do not work properly.
Drip tape has a 6-18 month warranty, and it is designed to be used for one season. PCD w CV has a 3-year warranty.
Because drip tape can suck back dirt and debris and the fact it does not have check valves it needs regular maintenance. You have to flush drip tape regularly to get debris out of the lines as well as algae or slime that can grow in the lines. PCD wCV does not have this problem, because the check valve closes and prevents debris from getting sucked back in. The check valve also seals the system when the pressure drops below 2.5 PSI and does not allow air in the line, this prevents algae growth.