You take your car in to have the oil changed because you want your car to last and run as efficiently as possible right? So why not do the same with your garden and drip system. Midsummer or before you take off on vacation is an opportune time to walk through your garden or landscape looking carefully for any problems. Your irrigation system works hard for you. Here are some simple necessary steps to think about that can keep your irrigation system running 100% effectively.
Check your timer; if you have unseasonable weather: hot, cold, or rainy, you may want to change the start times and duration cycle of your timer. The number of times that your timer turns on each day is essential; overwatering can cause root rot and slow plant growth and under watering can lead to loss of the plant. It is also a good idea to check the hose washer screen on your timer, clean if necessary or add lubricant (HLUBE) as needed to the hose washer. If you do not have a timer but plan on going on vacation, now might be a good time to get one. DripWorks.com has various timer options, and there is a timer for everyone; from a Zero-Pressure timer to Multi-station timers and even Solar timers.
Every system should have a filter to protect the emitters, drip lines, and sprayers from getting clogged. Depending on your source of water (municipal, well, or pond), the frequency between cleanings of your filter may vary. In areas where a municipal water district serves you, a midsummer check of your filter is probably a good idea. If you have a well, checking the filter every 2-3 weeks might be necessary. If your water comes from a lake, creek, pond, or river checking your filter may need to be done more frequently. A good indication of when to check your filter can be sudden pressure loss or drooping plants; these could be signs of a clogged filter. Most filters have a mesh screen or disc screen, which can be cleaned by scrubbing it with a brush or using a high-pressure hose. A screen filter will filter out debris and sediment, and a disc type will filter out organic’s (algae).
A quick walk through your drip irrigation system can help you spot issues. Turn on the water and walk the length of the drip irrigation system looking for possible problems such as clogged emitters, poor emitter placement, clogged spray heads, broken or damaged fittings and tubing. Some emitters might need to be upgraded to a higher or lower flow emitter as the watering needs of your plants change. Not all but some emitters, sprayers, and sprinklers can be cleaned when clogged. Damage from thirsty or curious animals can sometimes happen, at this point replacing fittings or tubing as necessary can be done.
Buy your irrigation system from one source when replacing parts and tubing. Many companies sell drip irrigation, but not all of them carry the same size tubing and fittings or have the same quality standards. Many large home improvement centers compete on the concept that the lowest price is your best choice. A drip system is not something you should bargain hunt. We believe that American made products are still the world standard. The majority of DripWorks products are made right here in the USA.
Feed your plants. Top-dressing your hungry tomato and pepper plants will help you attain a maximum harvest. If you have a drip system set up, it is effortless to get nutrients to the root zone by hooking up an EZ-FLO Fertilizer Injector. The professional grower will want to use a MixRite injector that is powered entirely by the water passing through it. Adding fertilizer now will give your plants that extra boost they need to make it through the season. Check out the 2018 Complete Buyers Guide for Eco-Friendly Lawn and Garden Care for more ideas on how to improve and keep up with your garden this season.
Mulch your garden, to keep in the precious moisture that you’ve delivered through your drip system, lay down a few inches of leaves, straw, or grass clippings around your veggies and fruit trees. The mulch will give the earthworms a perfect place to continue their mission of turning your compost into readily available nutrients for the plants. The mulch also keeps weeds from sprouting up, saving you time and back work.
Plant fall vegetables; it’s not too early to start planting veggies for fall harvest. Autumn’s mild temperatures are ideal for growing late-season treats such as fast-growing salad crops. Root crops and cabbage will grow for months before the first frost. Timing is the secret for a successful fall garden. Look for your area’s first fall frost date and check your seed packet to find out how many days it will take until harvest and add a few weeks as the plants will grow more slowly during Autumn. Pull any spent plants and weeds from the garden beds and work in some fresh compost to your soil. Start your seeds in a shady section of the garden in small pots, flats, or directly into a bed that will receive a right amount of fall sun. Keep the plants well-watered under a soft sprayer such as the Ein Dor Mini Sprinkler that can be attached to the drip line.
Newly planted trees and shrubs are vulnerable to drying out quickly causing harm to their roots and the entire plant’s health. If their fruit is developing, provide adequate water especially during the hottest part of summer. Lettuce and spinach and other leafy greens should never be allowed to dry out.
Adjust your irrigation schedule, check your water filter, supplement your soil with fertilizer, harvest crops like basil for sauce, tomatoes, and peppers for salsa, and melons for the sheer pleasure of eating the sweet and juicy fruits of your labor.
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