Irrigation Tips from MOTHER EARTH NEWS

Keep these helpful tips in mind for setting up and maintaining your soaker hoses and drip irrigation.

| April/May 2018

Soaker hoses and drip irrigation systems provide a host of benefits for your plants and for your wallet. By delivering water just where it’s needed, when it’s needed, you can use your water resources more effectively while growing beautiful, vibrant plants.

Follow these tips to get the most out of your watering system:

Cover with mulch. To retain moisture and protect your soaker hoses from deterioration due to prolonged sun exposure, cover your soaker hoses with approximately 2 inches of mulch. To learn even more about the benefits of mulch, see Myth 3 in “5 Garden Myths.”

Protect from clogs. Use a 150-mesh filter to remove small particles that can clog your soaker hose or drip irrigation system. If you have hard water, use a calcium filter to reduce mineral buildup.

Properly space emitters. For row crops, spacing emitters 1 foot apart along the drip hose is usually sufficient. Generally, one drip hose can adequately water two rows of smaller crops or one row of larger crops.

Keep it level. If planting on a hill, orient your garden beds so they’re level and run horizontal to the slope. If it isn’t possible to orient your planting area and irrigation so they’re level, you can employ the help of diaphragm-type pressure-compensating emitters. These types of emitters water more uniformly on slopes than standard emitters by compensating for the differences of water pressure in a hose running up or down a hill.

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