Row by Row Episode 142: FAQ: Using Drip Irrigation in Your Garden

Why use Drip Irrigation?

There are several different reasons why we prefer to use drip irrigation instead of overhead watering in our vegetable gardens. One of the most important reasons for using drip irrigation is we are able to feed the water right where plants need it most — plant roots. Another reason for drip irrigation instead of overhead watering is the overall reduction of the amount of water you are applying in the garden. By reducing the amount of water we are also able to decrease weeds because we do not have excess water sitting on top of the soil leaving it a breeding ground for weed pressure. Another benefit to using drip irrigation is the option to easily fertilize plants while watering which saves you time and energy in the vegetable garden.

Frequently Asked Questions: Drip Irrigation

We’ve compiled a list of some of the most frequently asked questions regarding drip irrigation. So we can answer them all for you right here in this blog post.

  1. Does it work like a soaker hose?
    • Much more reliable and controlled output than soaker hoses
    • 0.48 gallons per hour per 100 feet of drip tape or 0.00048 gallons per hour per emitter
  2. What are the pressure/flow requirements?
    • 0.5 – 8 gallons per minute
    • 15 psi to 90 psi max
    • 50 – 60 pounds max of pressure for the Filter Regulator Combo
    • Figure out your flow rate by calculating how long it takes you to fill up a 5-gallon bucket
  3. How big of a system can I run at a time?
    • 100′ row max with 5/8″ mainline tubing
    • 250 feet of tape per 1 gallon of flow rate
    • 8 gallons per minute = 2,000 feet
  4. Can I use it with a gravity-fed system?
    • Yes, if you can generate enough pressure
    • 4.3 psi per 10 feet of elevation
    • Need 35′ off the ground for 15 psi
  5. How deep can it be buried?
    • 6 inches max
    • 2-3 inches is ideal for vegetables
  6. Are the holes pre-punched? Can I punch holes in it?
    • Yes, our drip tape is pre-punched
    • Standard emitter spacing is 12 inches
    • If you have a smaller garden we recommend using our Container Gardening Kit
  7. Emitters up or down?
    • Up
  8. How many lines to run in a 4′ wide raised bed?
    • One line per row
    • 3 lines per 4′ bed if planted densely
  9. Can drip tape be reused?
    • 8 mil — 3-4 growing seasons
    • 15 mil — several years
  10. Plant on top or to the side of drip tape?
    • You can do both!
    • Double rows we like to plant to the side
  11. How long do you run it?
    • Lots of variables – temperatures, soil type, crop, plant spacing, etc.
    • No rainfall, 1-2 hours every other day is sufficient

Show and Tell Segment

On the show and tell segment this week, Greg and Travis share a little update on what’s happening in the greenhouse and garden right now. Even though the weather conditions have them a little more behind than usual, the guys are staying positive and looking forward to better weather coming soon to South Georgia. Travis and his family just got back from Pine Mountain, Georgia on a little camping trip and while he was there he picked up some pickled okra for the guys to try on the show. Travis has a 162 cell seed starting tray full of several different okra varieties. The guys mention that okra is one of the last crops you will plant in your garden, due to the fact that okra does not like cool climates.

Viewer Questions

For the Q & A segment this week, the guys answer some viewer questions about sourcing seeds from the south, eating peas early, using inoculate on snow peas/purplehull peas, and planting zipper peas on double rows. Greg and Travis mention that the seed trade is international, however, in the United States, the west coast is ideal for growing seeds due to the climate. Greg mentions that you can eat peas with the shell on them just snap them in half. You do not necessarily need to add inoculate if you have grown peas in that certain area before, however, if it is a new garden spot it needs to be added to that garden spot. If planting zipper peas on a double row in a 4×12 raised bed the ideal spacing is 1 foot off the side of the bed and 2 foot in the middle.

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