This might seem an odd time of year to talk about irrigation but if you are thinking of adding a watering system to your polytunnel or greenhouse now is the time to get it done. The best solution for watering a tunnel is either a soaker hose or a dripper system which runs at soil level because there will be less water wasted through evaporation and you will reduce fungal problems on wet leaves. Obviously soil level irrigation is much easier to install before the plants go in. Both systems are easily attached to a garden tap or hose and are simple to join together and achieve whatever configuration you may need. Uneven watering puts plants under stress and leads to bolting (running to seed), woody roots (beetroot) or splitting (carrots and tomatoes). If you are anything like me watering can be patchy at the best of times, especially when things get busy and you don't have the time to do it properly. Water evaporates quickly from the soil surface, especially in hot weather, so there may be less than you think getting to you plant roots. If I was to give you one tip on polytunnel growing it is even watering, it really is the key to producing the best crops. Here are 5 reasons to install a water timer and simple drip irrigation system:
- It will save you time.
- A drip system can deliver water more effectively directly to your plant’s root zone.
- Set the timer to come on early in the morning when it is cool so water soaks into the soil rather than evaporating.
- A drip system can deliver a more precise amount of water, and it will be more consistent than hand watering.
- You can go on holidays!