The out from an irrigated vegetable garden can never be compared with that from a non- irrigated one. This is so because most vegetables have been established to have higher water demand compared to other crops. By targeting the amount of water sprinkled to vegetables, a farmer reduces the risks in his farming.
Different vegetables requires different amount of water during different periods in their development , but it is most critical during seed germination, the first few weeks of development, immediately after transplanting, and during flowering and fruit production.
Types of irrigation systems :
Technology has provided us with a variety of irrigation systems that are suitable for irrigating the vegetable garden. There are factors that determine the right system for you , they include: vegetable type, the type of soil,the amount of water required , availability of water supply ,availability of soure of energy,amount of capital and labor available .Here are the most common systems of irrigating vegetable gardens;
a)Furrow irrigation- suitable for gardeners who get irrigation water from the ditch. On the downside, it causes soil erosion and runoff in the garden.
b) Sprinkler irrigation-It is reliable compared to furrow irrigation. Conversely, it is not suitable for vegetables prone to foliar diseases such as blight.
c)Drip irrigation -It is well suited for the block-style garden layout and raised beds. Common types of drip systems include:In-line drip tubing, soaker hoses and soaker tubing, bubblers and drippers. A requirement for specifically clean water is a disadvantage of this system.
Effectively Irrigating the Vegetable Garden
Irrigation is needed when the top 2-4 inches of soil is dry to touch. Vegetable require about 1/4 inch of water a day during summer weather. The amount of water required during blooming or tasseling will increase during hot and windy weather.
To preserve moisture, ensure that you prepare the soil well, plant vegetables in blocks instead of rows and apply mulch.
Soil moisture content directs a gardener on when to irrigate thus the need to be checked regularly. One of the method you can use to measure the moisture is the stick method. Soil probe/a small garden spade and houseplant watering meters are some of the tools that can help your measure moisture content.