Summer is here and it's high time for vacations and weekend getaways! You're ready to throw on some sandals and head for the beach, or lace up your hiking boots for a trip to the great outdoors, either way summer is the perfect time to escape from our homes--and unfortunately from our gardens too! To help prepare for this moment, you bought a drip irrigation system to ensure your garden is well irrigated while away. You've spent precious time this spring setting up a garden and now, more than ever, it's vital to keep it healthy with the summer heat. To make sure your drip system is continuing to work hard while you're away, we've put together some helpful tips to keep your system working flawlessly.
Make sure you have a battery timer for each garden or watering zone. If this is your first year using drip we highly recommend installing a battery timer for each zone you wish to irrigate. Trust us, nothing's worse than forgetting to shut off your faucet and losing all of your water or receiving a huge bill at the end of the month. Free yourself this summer with a easy-to-program battery timer.
Example: If you have 60 one gallon emitters on your mainline and normally leave it on for a half hour each day, you'll use 30 gallons/day. If you manually do the same thing each day without a timer and forget to turn it off overnight (12 hours), you use 720 gallons!
Change the batteries in your timer. If you have a battery timer and haven't changed the batteries since last year, now is a good time to do so. You'll have peace of mind knowing your timer and system are operating automatically, while you're enjoying that weekend getaway.
Turn the water on at each timer/zone/area and walk through your gardens to check for any leaks. Follow your mainline and look for any leaks in your system, also be sure to check if your emitters are watering adequately (e.g. inspect for clogs and faulty emitters).
At each faucet/timer check the filter and make sure the screen is clean. A clean filter ensures that your emitters won't clog, so keeping it clean on a regular basis (weekly/monthly) will allow your drip system to run smooth. Some filters even come with a drain valve to make the cleaning easy.
Use a fertilizer injector to help enrich your soil while you're away. Even if you have a great soil and good growth, plant needs change in the middle of the season, and high phosphorous fertilizer proves to be best at this time for fruiting or flowering.
Before you leave, fertilize your garden with bat guano. You can add fertilizer near the emitter where it is moist, by digging it in a few inches down. Another method is to make a "tea" by adding a few handfuls of guano to a five gallon bucket and fill the bucket halfway with water. Let it sit overnight, stir for 30 seconds, and pour a cupful near each emitter before the timer goes off.
Now you can go on vacation worry free!