The plants in your garden need a steady supply of water in order to grow and remain healthy, but many gardeners don't have the budget for an elaborate irrigation system. Setting up a simple drip irrigation system on a timer can ensure a healthy garden without spending a fortune.
Drip Irrigation Kits
Drip irrigation kits are available for purchase at your local nursery or hardware store. The kits help to simplify the task of choosing all of the emitters, connectors, hoses and other components that you'll need to create a drip irrigation system. Kits come in different sizes for different needs. You can even set up a drip system for the hanging plants on your patio with the right kit. A basic kit usually costs around $66.00.
Soaker hoses deliver water to the root zone of your plants and offer an easy method of getting started with drip irrigation. They are typically black with many tiny holes that allow water to slowly seep out after you turn on your faucet. The disadvantage of soaker hoses is that they deliver water everywhere they lie, whereas an official drip system has emitters only where your valued plants reside, which helps unplanted areas between plants remain weed-free. You can connect up to three 50-foot soaker hoses together on the same line without affecting water pressure at the end of the line. A 50-foot soaker hose ranges in price from $10 to about $18.
Garden Hose Timers
A garden hose timer can ensure that plants get a regular, consistent supply of water. Timers can be either mechanical or electronic, with mechanical timers being the least expensive. However, electronic timers might have advantages for some people because they have a water valve, a clock and a small computer that controls the water flow rate and times that it turns on and shuts off your water. You simply connect your timer to your faucet, and then connect a garden hose to it and string it to the beginning of your drip irrigation system. Timers range in price from about $8 to over $60.
When you set up your drip system and timer yourself, you'll save money that you might have spent to have a handyman install it. Drip irrigation systems are fairly easy to install and aren't normally too time-consuming, especially if you begin with a kit.