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frequency and duration of drip irrigation

Posted by joannaqcw (My Page) on
Sat, Apr 26, 08 at 14:16

I've just installed a T-tape 8" on-center high-flow drip irrigation system in 4 of my vegetable beds (onions, potatoes, beans, asparagus) . I'm new to drip irrigation and am trying to figure out how frequently to water, and for how long. I've read that one of the benefits of drip irrigation is the ability to keep soil constantly moist instead of having it soak and dry out--that seems to argue in favor of brief and frequent irrigation. On the other hand, I'd like the bed to be somewhat uniformly moist, and while each emitter is supposed to wet a 12" circle it takes a while for the moisture to visibly spread that far. How to other drip irrigators figure out how often and how long to water?
Thanks,
Joanna


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RE: frequency and duration of drip irrigation

joannaqcw, the greatest advantage of a drip irrigation system is that it puts the water where it will be best used - at or near the roots of the plant. Ideally, the emitters will coincide with the spacing of the plant. As the root system grows larger, more water will be needed and this is accommodated by the length of time that the system is allowed to operate. One can determine this by checking the wet patch of soil around each plant. At first only a small area needs to be kept wet but as the roots grow out, a larger wet area would be needed. In a perfect state of affairs, at maturity, the roots of all the plants will occupy all the area (if not the volume) of the planted bed and the irrigation will be operated at its longest duration (even full time). All the listed plants will need adequate water for establishment but as time goes on, I imgine that the asparagus and beans will need more water than the onions and potatoes.


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