How to water the garden?
The importance of watering is difficult to overestimate. However, competent watering is not just a daily saturation of the soil with moisture, but also a reasonable approach, including the features of culture and irrigation technology, which, as a rule, saves irrigation water. These are techniques that help retain moisture in the soil. This is a combination of cultures by similarity in agricultural technology. This ... etc.
There are different ways of watering. The choice of one or another depends on the possibilities of planning and arranging the site, the type of soil and culture. In general, irrigation is distinguished by the type of water supply and is distinguished: surface irrigation, irrigation irrigation, drip irrigation and subsoil.
It consists of irrigation along furrows, including annular (around the stands of trees or bushes), as well as on checks and bowls. It is advisable where the surface of the site is leveled, and the soil has sufficient water permeability.
Longitudinal furrow irrigation
Longitudinal furrow irrigation is the most common. It is used for straight planting of crops and is best suited for ridges that have a minimum slope (otherwise, the water either runs off too quickly, not having enough time to wet the soil, or stagnates at the beginning of the groove, again, without providing uniform moisture).
The depth of the furrows during such irrigation can vary from 10 to 15 cm. The distance between the furrows is from 50 to 60 cm on loamy soils, from 60 to 80 cm on loams and from 80 to 100 cm on clay. These recommendations are related to the fact that on light soils, water mainly goes to the bottom of the furrow, and on heavy soils it is evenly distributed in all directions.
Watering in bowls or checks
Watering in bowls or checks is used in gardens and is a filling with water enclosed by a roller of earth around the bush or tree trunk. It is advisable where the soil is poorly permeable. The size of the irrigated area in this case should be equal to the perimeter of the crown.
No less popular way of watering. It consists in crushing the water jet supplied with pressure into drops, which is achieved through the use of various nozzles.
The advantages of such irrigation are faster and more complete wetting of the soil, the ability to irrigate areas with a difficult microrelief or a large slope, lower labor costs, water savings of 15 - 30% (compared with irrigation with furrows), as well as the possibility of complete mechanization.
Sprinkling is great for light soils, for areas with perennial grasses, but not suitable for heavy soil. Water on clay soils does not penetrate well, and therefore forms puddles, drains, provoking erosion processes. Another drawback is the ability to soak the soil only up to 50 cm on heavy soils, up to 60 on light soils, which is significant when watering orchards and vineyards requiring soil soaking up to 100 cm.
Irrigation of this type implies the supply of water in the form of drops in the zone of greatest accumulation of plant roots and its gradual spread in all directions. Such irrigation is carried out by means of special droppers, taking into account the irrigation norms. The number of droppers is calculated based on the irrigated crop, soil type, plant size and planting patterns (for adult trees, this is usually several droppers, for young, shrubs and vegetable crops, one for each plant).
Significant advantages of drip irrigation are the possibility of using in unaligned areas, terrain with a significant slope, in the vast majority of soil types and for most crops. Saving irrigation water with such irrigation reaches 80%. The main disadvantage of this method is the tendency to clog the system with solid particles present in water.
This method of irrigation is still little known, but quite promising, since it is included in the category of the most economical. It consists in the fact that the water supply occurs underground, directly into the root zone, through special humidifier tubes. This ensures a minimum of water loss through evaporation, a smaller growth of weeds (since most of their seeds are in the upper, not moistened layer), creating optimal conditions for plant nutrition.
Types of irrigation
In addition to the main irrigation methods aimed at maintaining optimal soil moisture, there are irrigation with additional functions. In particular: refreshing watering, watering with the simultaneous application of fertilizers, moisture-charging (or winter) and anti-frost.
The need for this irrigation arises in conditions of prolonged preservation of high temperatures. During such periods, plants evaporate a lot of moisture, as a result of which the water content in their tissues is greatly reduced, which leads to difficulties in vital processes.
Produce refreshing watering in the hot season by finely dispersed sprinkling (spraying water to a foggy state) with a frequency of 5 minutes after 1 hour. Spraying allows drops not to drain, but to remain on the surface of plants, restoring their hydration and, gradually evaporating, to cool their tissues and the surface layer of air.
Such irrigation is carried out either with the help of special nozzles or with a spray gun (which is more time-consuming).
Watering with fertilizer at the same time
This type of irrigation is more economical than separately watering and fertilizing. The benefit is explained by the fact that nutrients dissolved in water penetrate the root zone faster and are better absorbed by plants.
Such irrigation is carried out by adding pre-dissolved or infused fertilizers to the irrigation water. At the same time, the depth of fertilizer placement is controlled by the time of their application: if it is necessary to apply fertilizer to the topsoil, the solution is watered at the end of irrigation, if it is deeper - at the beginning.
What can be applied simultaneously with irrigation water? Fermented bird droppings, slurry, herbal or compost tea, potassium, ammonium nitrate, etc. In this case, the ratio of organic fertilizers should be 1:10 (with water), and mineral fertilizers should be 1: 100, since plants will get burned at a higher concentration.
Most often, watering with simultaneous application of fertilizers is carried out along furrows or from a watering can. If by sprinkling, then after it is necessary to rinse the plants with clean water.
Characteristics of irrigation water
Not every water has a positive effect on plants. Rather, for irrigation water, there are recommendations for temperature and quality.
Very cold water, like too warm, adversely affects the vital activity of soil microorganisms and the absorption capacity of the root system. In addition, when watering with ice or hot water, plants experience a temperature shock, which manifests itself in wilting, and sometimes dumping of foliage. This reaction is associated with the fact that stress inhibits the functioning of the root apparatus, while the process of transpiration (evaporation of moisture through the leaves) remains at the same level of intensity.
Thus, the temperature of the irrigation water should be oriented to the optimum soil temperature, at which the most favorable development of the plants takes place, and therefore equal to + 15 ... 25 ° C. Therefore, if water for irrigation is extracted from a well or a well, it must be preheated in a tank specially allocated for this, installed at the highest point of the site.
Equally important is the quality of irrigation water. It is forbidden to apply water with a high concentration of salts to irrigation (high salinity is usually observed in groundwater and mine water), which is undesirable containing an increased amount of suspended particles (dirty river or lake). You can find out the quality of water by laboratory research and on the basis of indicators, either defend it, or clean it with chemical methods, or pour it with tap water, since it usually has average indicators both in the presence of salts and in the pollution by suspended particles. However, there is also a "fly in the ointment" - the presence of bleach and fairly low temperatures, but again settling can cope with them.
Optimum watering rate
Other dangers associated with watering are poor watering and waterlogging. The first does not allow moisture entering the soil to saturate the root layer sufficiently, as a result of which the concentration of soil solution increases sharply and nutrients cease to enter the plants in the right amount. In addition, regular wetting of only the upper layer of the earth leads to the fact that the bulk of the roots of the plants are concentrated at the surface, as a result of which they do not receive enough moisture and nutrition.
Excessive watering saturates the soil with water, which also worsens the conditions for the absorbing activity of the root system and causes inhibition of plants. With excess moisture in the soil, the amount of oxygen decreases, the percentage of carbon dioxide increases, root hairs (sucking water and trace elements) are destroyed, and the risk of putrefactive processes increases.
A constant lack of moisture, as well as regular waterlogging, reduce the suction surface of the roots, lead to chlorosis, leaf decay, inhibition of growth processes, a decrease in the quantity and quality of the crop, and a decrease in winter hardiness in berry and fruit crops.
How to determine the optimal irrigation rate? In agronomy, it is calculated according to special formulas based on constant observations of the state of the soil. In the garden, of course, no one will do this. But you can still be guided by certain rules.
The simplest of them is to know at what depth it is necessary to wet the soil under a particular crop. For vegetables it is 30 cm (during seedlings 5 - 15 cm), for strawberries 35 - 40 cm, for raspberries up to 40 cm, currants and gooseberries up to 50 cm, for fruit and vineyards - 100 cm.
In addition, the need for water at different periods of life in plants is not the same. Most of all, seedlings and a flowering period need stable moisture, but by the end of the growing season, moisture consumption by plants is minimized.
Features of crops
When watering the garden, it is necessary to take into account the characteristics of individual crops.
So watermelon, melon, pumpkin, corn, forage beetroot, beans have the ability to extract moisture from the deep layers of the soil and belong to the category of heat-resistant plants. The same group includes most of the herbs.
Carrots and onions are particularly demanding on watering in the first half of the growing season, in the future excess moisture spoils the quality of their harvest.
Cucumbers, cabbage, radishes, lettuce, peppers, eggplants require constant soil moisture. Potatoes are required to water during the flowering period. Tomatoes can adapt to insufficient moisture and like watering under the root.
Within one culture, among varieties, differences in relation to moisture are also observed. The most demanding varieties of early ripening, less - late.
There are preferences for garden plants. The most sensitive to watering is strawberries, followed by black currants, then raspberries, gooseberries, red currants, plums, apple trees, pears and cherries. At the same time, fruit and stone seedlings grown with regular watering need more moisture than those that had to adapt to its deficiency initially.
General watering rules
If all the irrigation rules are reduced to one list of recommendations, then the following will turn out:
- it is better to water the plants early in the morning (before the heat) or in the evening (during cold nights, you should give preference to morning);
- watering should be timely and regular;
- spring irrigation should be oriented to a lesser (about 10 cm) depth of soil wetting, since moisture accumulated in the ground is still available for plants during this period;
- the higher the temperature, the higher the rate of irrigation;
- in cloudy weather, the irrigation rate needs to be reduced, but you cannot completely rely on rains;
- at the time from emergence to flowering, the plants are most sensitive to lack of water, therefore it is especially dangerous to neglect the irrigation regularity during this period;
- the higher the planting density, the more plentiful the watering should be;
- more frequent watering is required by crops grown on sandy soils;
- for the root system to work effectively, plants need not only moisture, but also oxygen, for this reason after watering it is necessary to prevent the formation of soil crust, destroying it by loosening, which, in addition, also helps to maintain moisture in the soil;
- in addition to loosening, mulching contributes to the conservation of soil moisture.
How to save water?
In order for watering to be economical, you need to know and follow certain rules:
- take care of snow retention, collect melt, rainwater in specially designated containers;
- plant seedlings in a timely manner, while the soil has natural moisture accumulated after winter;
- Watering is not often, but plentiful, so that the root system can develop inland;
- after watering, mulch the soil or loosen, destroying the capillaries of the upper soil layer (agrofibre can be used as a mulching film);
- choose the most economical type of irrigation for the given conditions: on flat terrain - along furrows, on the slope - by sprinkling, or relatively new technologies - drip, spot, subsurface irrigation.
The use of all these techniques together allows you to reduce the consumption of water used for irrigation during the season to 50-60%, and with normalized irrigation (for example, using drip irrigation) - up to 80%.