In the arrival of flowering buds and distinct spring colors, there is no greater joy than walking down the aisle of a nursery to enjoy the view. The immediate impulse is to desire at least two of every type. In the season when a burst of color is welcomed, we want nothing more than to surround our porches, walkways, front and back yards with healthy plants, bushes, and trees. Early spring is the most effective time to aid in its health and nourishment. Once the spring rains have stopped, we need to consider addressing an alternative means to maintain a plant’s health. The days of lugging heavy hoses from one side of the yard to the other, or transporting milk jugs or five-gallon buckets full of water have been replaced by a simpler method. It is time to consider combining the conservation of water with establishing a slow-drip irrigation system. From owning a small yard to several acres, you may be surprised at the ease of getting started.
We often think the spring rains and the comfortable temperatures will not cause our newly planted flowers or seedlings to become stressed, wilt, and die, but it is possible if they become too severe. One solution is to create a slow-drip irrigation system to ensure the foliage remains happy and healthy. A half-gallon milk jug or a two-liter soda container, with lids, are two viable options for this task. Wash the container and the lid thoroughly; then, drill four to six semi-small holes in the container. (There is no right or wrong way to use a bottle system. Some individuals use the lid hole for access while others prefer to cut off the bottom to fill and clean.) Test to see how fast the water comes out. Remember, you do not want the holes too small; otherwise, they will become clogged. And, too many holes will saturate the ground and drown your plants or create mold. Bury the container as far as you like. Experiment with a few bottle systems before you decide to use a large number in your garden or around your newly planted blueberry bushes.
While it may not be aesthetically pleasing to see a bucket situated beside a tree, this system offers great rewards. Newly planted trees need greater saturation; therefore, simply drill a few holes in the bottom of your five-gallon bucket, fill with water, and place on a slight incline or raised area. Buckets can also be easily cleaned. Remember, with the top open, it will be susceptible to falling leaves, debris, bugs, and rainwater. (Using a lid is optional, too.) In the dog days of summer, you will be grateful to have this system. (Label and store the buckets. You may be using them in the fall or next spring.)
Slow-Drip Irrigation Lines
A raised container can serve as a “gravity drip” and offer a row of plants, whether in a garden or, for instance, berry bushes, a consistent amount of water daily. Having a valve to turn on and off may be a worthwhile consideration. The supplies needed, such as the tubing and anchors, are relatively cheap. How often you fill the “tank” determines the size and use of the container. The options are a five-gallon bucket, a rain barrel, or a 100- to 300-gallon container. It would be worthwhile to use the downspouts on either your house or shed as a collection source. The vitamins and minerals found in rainwater are exactly what your plants need. Could this be any easier?
Lugging a hose across the yard is hard work. Have you ever considered how much water you are using to sustain plants and flowers, herbs and vegetables, shrubs and trees, and fruit-bearing plants? Studies have proven a slow-drip irrigation system will use up to 50% less water than a hose or sprinkler. Also, small amounts of water applied over a long period of time are ideal for optimal growing conditions. The water is strategically placed and will be delivered where it’s needed.
Your desire to grow thriving flowers and foliage requires a system that does not consume your time. How nice would it be to sit in a lawn chair, witnessing beauty and color, without having to work so hard!