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Saturday, 6 April 2013

Watering Made Simple

This year one project we want to undertake on our patio is to introduce a drip irrigation system to take care of the pots, tubs and hanging baskets we intend to grow this year.

We are planning a very colourful display this year and in this recent post I shared some of our plans in relation to the bedding flowers we intend to grow. But as most gardeners will know a display using a lot of bedding plants will need to be fed and watered regularly especially when grown in pots as the plants will use up the nutrients quickly and pots tend to dry out quickly in warm weather.

With this in mind the obvious solution is to fit an irrigation system. There are plenty of kits and systems available, but I really fancy having an automatic system to ensure I dont forget to turn it on.

Hozelock are one of the market leaders when it comes to irrigation, like many gardeners I have a number of Hozelock products already, hosepipes, and spray guns for example. There are also plenty of timers available, but this computer controlled water timer has really caught my eye (Hozelock Aqua Control Pro 2701). It includes a rain sensor so you can save water when you don't need to water your plants. It is also very simple to use, with various pre-set watering settings and also the option to be fully programmable to your own needs. I wouldn't want mine to be watering in the middle of the day or even in the early evening - although a good time to water I would rather not get dripped on under the baskets when it comes on

There are several other computer controlled water timers available, you can spend over £100 on some timers, but for me the Hozelock has the features I want and is reasonably priced at about £54.

As well as the timer you will also need to fit a supply hose to supply the water to the pots. It is a good idea to plan this before placing your pots as it will be a lot harder to retro fit the pipe when all your pots and plants are in place. Doing it before allows you to hide the pipe. I don't really want to be able to see the black pipe at all, so will run it round the edge of the patio and hide it completely by the pots. In a couple of places where it will have to run along a wall I will probably paint it to match the white wall behind so it doesnt stand out.

The trick with the supply pipe is to have a bowl of warm water to hand when you fit it. If you have a tight bend to get round then place the pipe in the hot water to help soften it, you can then bend it into position without causing it to kink. Kinks would constrict the water flow/pressure and may mean that any pots near the end of the pipe run don't get enough water. For very tight bends you can buy rigid plastic angles connectors to get round the bend where it would be impossible not to kink the pipe.

Into the supply pipe you need to connect the micro pipe, which feeds the drippers and sprinklers. As I am watering pots and baskets I will just user drippers but if you were watering garden beds then sprinklers may be more suitable.

When it comes to the drippers there are a wide range available, see the huge selection listed on the Easy Watering website. I havent yet decided which to use, but will probably stick to the same type for the patio, perhaps adjusting the variety for the baskets.

With any luck I can enjoy the garden in the evenings after work without having to spend any time watering. Although knowing me I will find something else to do.

DG

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