1 ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tem

Gardening Australia - - KNOW-HOW -

If you don’t like wa­ter­ing by hand, con­sider set­ting up a sim­ple ‘set and for­get’ retic­u­la­tion sys­tem. This is in­dis­pens­able for gar­den­ers in dry ar­eas, es­pe­cially if there is lit­tle sum­mer rain. For a small in­vest­ment, the sys­tem reg­u­larly wa­ters your plants for you, even when you’re on hol­i­day.

Some peo­ple in­stall retic­u­la­tion for year-round use, but you can also rig up a sim­ple sys­tem that can be used to help plants get es­tab­lished, then pull it apart and use it for the next project.

If you have no idea how ir­ri­ga­tion works or what you need to buy, cre­ate a ba­sic sketch of your gar­den bed and the po­si­tion of the plants. Write down the di­men­sions of the bed and the dis­tance from the gar­den bed to your clos­est tap. Take the sketch and mea­sure­ments to an ir­ri­ga­tion spe­cial­ist or gar­den cen­tre, and seek as­sis­tance. Tell them about any wind con­di­tions and water pres­sure, so you get the cor­rect sprin­klers for even cov­er­age.

The ir­ri­ga­tion pro­fes­sion­als will draw a sim­ple plan, work out what you need and sell you poly tube, the join­ers to con­nect sec­tions, el­bows for cor­ners and drip­per fit­tings. Gar­den­ers with high water pres­sure may also need to buy an in­ex­pen­sive pres­sure re­ducer, so that the sys­tem doesn’t burst.

Think of it as a kids’ con­struc­tion set for gar­den­ers. For help set­ting up your sys­tem, take a look at the di­a­gram on page 42.

Per­ma­nent sys­tems usu­ally sit just be­low the soil sur­face, but if you leave the sys­tem on top of the soil, you can hide it with a layer of mulch. To keep it sim­ple, con­nect a self-timer to your tap and set it to water early in the morn­ing to min­imise water evap­o­ra­tion.

“All plants need water while they’re get­ting es­tab­lished”

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