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Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Mar 18, 2010 12:20 pm
Location: Cleveland Heights, Ohio

How should I program my new watering timer?

I got a drip irrigation system for my 8x16 vegetable garden and a timer to water it automatically.

I'm looking for advice on how often to water, for how long, and at what time of day.

Super Green Thumb
Posts: 6113
Joined: Sun Mar 28, 2010 11:43 pm


Rule of thumb, 1" of water a week is a good start. Maybe a little more to get seeds started. Need a little more information on your system. Mainline, emmitters, etc. Soil type

I like to use 1\4" Pressure Compensating Emitter Tubing. 1\2 gallon per hour. Either 6" or 12" on center. They are spread evenly across the bed 12" in all directions. Emitter per square foot.

3 days a week
10 min. duration.
covered with mulch

Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2179
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 6:06 pm
Location: North Texas

I used to use drip emitters when I gardened in containers. Now I use soaker hoses in raised beds. Most of my garden is planted, but I haven't turned my watering system on. The plants are simply to small and in their root development stage to flood them with water.

I typically will reset my timer three times in a growing season. The first setting will be a modest amount of water for modest sized plants in beds mostly moist from spring rains. The second setting, just before the real summer heat hits; will be based on how my tomato plants indicate they need moisture. Cucumber plants are also pretty quick to tell you when they need water by how the plants droop in the hottest part of the day. The cucumber fruit will not develop as well or as fully when the plant is water stressed. The last setting is for when the plants are going into their fall phase and we still have some hot days, but the nights are cooling. At that time, I cut the water back to the "modest" amount. This also seems to help unripened fruit ripen before the first fall frost hits.

I usually try to give the plants as much water as they need but never as much as they want. In the past, I have been overly generous with water resulting in beautiful, but weaker plants. I used to water a little in the morning and a little at mid day and also give them a good drink before they went to bed at night. I now think it is better to simply give them enough to make it through the day with a morning watering. Even that may skip to a drink of water every other day or a total soaking one time per week.

I'm still learning from my garden, I simply need to be intelligent enough to understand what it is telling me.

I simply enjoy gardening!

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