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 Save Water: Irrigation for Gardens


Story:

We all know that plants need water to survive and perform well in the garden. Drip irrigation is one of the best ways to deliver water. Both because it’s very efficient and it’s also very good for the crop as well. 

 
Using drip irrigation helps keep the leaves of the plant dry, which helps reduce diseases, and is also incredibly conservative in terms of the volume of water that you require.
 
There are two different types of drip irrigation systems. There are low-pressure drip systems that use drip tape – otherwise known as T-tape. And there are high-pressure systems that use more rigid poly tubing with emitters built in or emitters that you can install yourself.
 
It does run at low pressure, and so you have to use a pressure regulator to knock the pressure down from what is standard coming out of your hose or faucet. Typical water pressure coming out of a residential faucet or hydrant might be anywhere from 50 to 75 psi. But a drip system that runs on low pressure requires 10 to 15 psi.
 
We typically use small PVC pressure regulators in order to knock back the pressure of the water coming in, and that will help to insure that you get good consistent watering throughout the length of the drip tape.
 
High-pressure drip systems are more typical of landscapes, but they also work extremely well in the vegetable garden or in a community garden. They’re made out of much more rigid and durable poly tubing, and they have what are called pressure-compensating emitters inside of them. This means that no matter what pressure the system is running at, the same volume of water and the same rate of water is delivered to the plants.
 
In addition, because it’s so rigid, you can also reuse that high-pressure system over and over again. So, it’s best recommended, especially if you’re in an area that has permanent beds or raised beds – the high pressure system may be better suited for that type of garden.
 
This feature story prepared with Cary Rivard, Kansas State University Research and Extension Fruit and Vegetable Specialist. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at KansasGreenYards.org.