Gardening Report: Drip irrigation - a more efficient way to water your garden

Published: Aug. 13, 2021 at 3:58 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Put the hose away and retire the watering can, because drip irrigation may be your new preferred way to water your garden.

According to Heidi Rader, Associate Professor of Extension for the University of Alaska Fairbanks, drip irrigation can more efficiently and more effectively water your plants. “Drip irrigation - another word for that might be soaker hoses - but basically you’re delivering the water straight to the soil and the plants. So, instead of watering with a hose or a watering can, the water goes right where it needs to go. There’s a bunch of advantages to that. Sometimes when you spray your plants with water, you can get a little more disease or mold. You can let the water soak in a lot deeper with drip irrigation and soaker hoses than you can just with a watering can or spraying with a hose.”

Drip irrigation also has other advantages over traditional watering according to Rader. “One of my favorite things about drip irrigation is if I go fishing or backpacking, I can set it up to go on a timer and it actually waters my garden while I’m gone. Of course now we’re into the rainy season a little bit more, but we’ve had a lot of hot weather this summer and you definitely need to water your garden - and it’s nice to not be tied down if you don’t have a neighbor or friend to water it. You can just set your timer. Always good to have somebody check it in case there’s a hole in it or something while you’re gone, but it works very well.”

And getting started is a simple as ordering a starter kit according to Rader. ”There are kits available from companies on the internet, and they actually have put together kits for whatever size garden you may have. You can even use it with containers. You can get the entire kit, and then once you’re more familiar with how everything works, then you can just buy the pieces that you need. But starting out with a simple kit is probably the way to go, and there’s lots of helpful videos online as well.”

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