Greenhouse Watering Systems
A watering system for a greenhouse can be as basic or as intricate as your budget allows. If you've spent the time and money creating a perfect environment for your cherished plants, you should consider it money well spent to include a watering system. You'll save time, lessen your workload and be rewarded with luxurious blooms and rich, full greenery.
Hand watering takes time, and you can't be sure that all plants are watered adequately. You may be over-watering some plants and neglecting others. A good watering system design can save water and ensure that all plants are watered efficiently and effectively.
Drip Irrigation System
Drip irrigation takes a little time to design and set up, but it's an effective system that brings water directly to your plants without wasteful over-watering or evaporation.
There are a number of variations of system designs and materials, but it mainly consists of PVC piping to create the main arteries of your watering system coupled with smaller feeder tubes, or pipes, that distribute water to the individual plants or rows of plantings.
A small setup may use tubing with individual emitters to water each pot on a shelf or table. If you are growing plants in beds, you may lay rigid piping down the center of the growing area with emitters spaced along the length of the pipe.
This type of network can be automated by connecting it to a timer or moisture sensor for a system that runs itself. Whether you have a tiny lean-to or a massive nursery greenhouse, a self-watering drip irrigation system makes it easy to have a fuss-free greenhouse.
A drip irrigation system is an efficient way of conserving water by minimizing evaporation. Using a sensor to time watering cycles ensures that your plants are properly watered. Under watering will result in wilted leaves, dry soil and poor growth, while over watering can result in mold, fungal infection and root rot.
One disadvantage of this system is that the holes in the pipes or tubes can become clogged with soil. The entire line should be checked occasionally to ensure that all emitters are open and water flows freely.
Capillary Mat Irrigation System
If you grow all your plants in pots, mat irrigation is a very effective way of maximizing the number of plants you can place in one area. If you are growing seedlings in propagation trays, this method waters the soil without disturbing the tiny sprouts.
Synthetic mats are available in a number of widths and lengths. These mats are placed on waterproof shelves or in trays. Shelves that are used with the capillary mats have a gutter on one end that holds water. One end of the mat is placed in the gutter. The water wicks up through the mat into the pots through capillary action. Fertilizer and nutrients can be added to the water for even, equal feeding of all your plants. This matting is rot, bacteria and mildew resistant. The only disadvantage is that the mats will grow algae and need to be cleaned periodically.
Misting And Sprinkler Systems
Misting provides your plants with over-all moisture and adds to the humidity level of the greenhouse atmosphere. This system is ideal for propagating cuttings and watering seedlings.
Misting can also significantly reduce the ambient temperature. The evaporation of the fine drops of water lowers the temperature in your greenhouse during very hot weather and minimizes stress on your plants. Misting is also recommended for tropical plants and epiphytes.
Sprinkler systems can automate your watering. Just set it and forget it. This is ideal for the busy gardener, and the installation is simple. Misting kits and sprinkler systems are attached to standard water faucets, and programmable timing devices or humidity sensors can be used to automate the setup.
Greenhouse Kits from Woodcraft: