Irrigation will make your private home gardening a lot simpler 

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Watering is one of the most arduous tasks in the garden, but also one of the most important. Simple irrigation systems are an easy way for home gardeners to save time while helping their plants thrive.

“Irrigation systems help home gardeners save water and time in their vegetable gardens,” said Pamela Hargest, horticultural expert at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. “They are easy to install and manage and can be adapted to the shape of your garden beds.”

Proper garden watering can also be difficult. Irrigation systems allow more even water management in the garden, which is healthier for the plants throughout the season.

“Irrigation systems can provide plants with constant water, which helps reduce physiological stress on plants,” said Mark Hutchinson, associate professor at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. “Early water shortages can delay ripening and reduce yields. Lack of water too late in the season can lead to poor fruit quality and lower yields. Irrigation systems are beneficial in most years because natural rainfall is inconsistent. “

Before buying any accessories to install your irrigation system, it is important to plan for them. Hargest recommended watching episode 6 of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Victory Garden for ME series, which discusses all of the components of setting up a home garden irrigation system.

“It’s best to draw a map of your garden to find out exactly where your watering is in the garden before buying any supplies,” said Hargest.

There are a number of different types of irrigation systems that home gardeners might consider including drip irrigation, sprinkler systems, or soaking hoses. Hutchinson said that when choosing an irrigation system, home gardeners should first determine what their water source is and how much water is available from it – and how much money you want to spend.

“Drip irrigation is most efficient from a water usage perspective, but initial setup can be costly and time consuming,” said Hutchinson. “The advantage of drip irrigation is that it slowly and evenly delivers water directly to the base of the plant. If you choose a drip system, make sure it has a pressure regulator – the drip only takes 10 [to] 12 psi [which stands for pound-force per square inch] – and a good filter system. “

Hargest said that drip irrigation kits typically range from $ 60 to more than $ 250, depending on the size of your garden.

“These kits are helpful because they usually have everything you need and can help you navigate all of the components in a drip irrigation kit,” said Hargest.

Hutchinson said home gardeners may also want to use soaking hoses, which are less expensive but have their own drawbacks.

“These are easy to install and provide water similar to drip irrigation, but cover the entire range so some of the water may not be available to the plants but to the weeds,” said Hutchinson.

Hutchinson said you can also make your own drip irrigation system using a PVC pipe. You can even use simple setups with soda bottles or milk jugs.

“Each of these systems work on a small scale and are much more efficient than hand water with a hose and nozzle,” said Hutchinson. “The key to any system is water deep and even.”