The scarce depth of the substratum, whether in a cultivation table or in a flowerpot, together with the reduced dimensions of the containers make it necessary to water more frequently than in traditional orchards. On the other hand, the lower absorption capacity, if compared to natural soil, requires watering in small doses to avoid soaking the substrate.
Here are some simple tips for you to get the optimal irrigation of your urban garden.
How much should I water?
The need for water varies between crops, although in general, you should always make sure that the soil does not dry out at any time (especially important when sowing or transplanting!), and does not get soaked either. The soil must always have a degree of humidity, although not so high that the drains from the cultivation table or from the pots drip, which is the clear indication of a soaked substrate.
Can I water with tap water?
In general, it is not a problem for vegetables that you use tap water to irrigate them, although especially in urban environments the concentration of chlorine in the water can damage plants. We will easily recognize the problem because yellow stains will appear on the leaves. It is the so-called chlorosis, which reduces the amount of chlorophyll, with the consequences that this entails for the productivity of the plants. A simple trick to reduce the concentration of chlorine in water is to let it rest for a minimum of 24 hours in a bucket without a lid. Chlorine is a gaseous additive that will evaporate, and although it will not disappear completely, it will greatly reduce its concentration.
If your tap water contains other toxins that can harm vegetables, it will be prudent to install some filter and water treatment system, which generally consist of active carbon filters that will retain particles and unwanted compounds.
Manual or automatic watering?
It is a dilemma that you will have to solve depending on the time you have available and the particular needs of your orchard. During the hottest months, it will be necessary to water at least a couple of times a day (perhaps more if your garden is on a very sunny terrace in the middle of the city) to ensure that the substrate does not dry out. Watering should also be spaced to give the soil time to absorb moisture. If you can keep up with the daily rhythm, great, a watering machine will suffice. Otherwise, an excellent option is to set up an automatic watering system to suit you.
It is important to water as evenly as possible the soil and therefore depending on whether you have mounted your garden in pots or a table your needs will vary a little. To water pots or other small containers, you can use drippers, either adjustable or not, that you will connect to the main house as you go through the pots. A simple irrigation programmer will allow you to ensure that your plants receive the right doses of water without fail. The automatic irrigation kits are designed for this type of irrigation and contain all the parts you will need to assemble your installation. All you have to do is make sure you have enough water for all your plants.
In horticultor.es we have several kits that allow you to water 20 pots at a time, such as the Drip Irrigation Kit for 20 pots and all the necessary complements to extend your installation to more containers if necessary.
If you are going to make the installation in a cultivation table, a much better option is the exuding tube. Its porous structure allows water to flow along its entire length, achieving homogeneous irrigation. You will need some elbows, connectors and picks to connect the installation to the water intake and secure the tube, and in a few minutes, you will have an effective and efficient irrigation system, which you can also complement with an irrigation programmer that will remember to water your plants diligently.
We hope that this small article has helped you to understand a little more how irrigation should work in small spaces, as is the case of the urban orchard. Happy growing!