What is Drip Irrigation?
What happens in Drip Irrigation?
Drip irrigation is a Hydroponic technique featuring a regulated flow of nutrient solution that’s slowly released to plants' root zone in a very regulated and precise manner. It is a suitable alternative for growers living in dry areas where water efficiency is paramount. Drip irrigation is low-pressure and low-volume; it can be;
- Drip line- uses tubing to deliver water
- Bottle drip-uses bottles set close to plant roots.
Drip uses one or more drip emitters which drip the nutrient solution onto a growing media. Once the nutrient solution had dropped on the media, it can be recirculated as in recovery drip systems and or released as in non-recovery drip systems.
Why should you try Drip Irrigation
It is a low maintenance system that's easy to set up even if you are on a squeezed budget, and anyone from beginner to pro grower can work with it. Drip is efficient with water and nutrients while being practical and more productive than soil based grows. Drip irrigation is super easy to set up and the maintenance is even easier. When you use drip, you are looking at healthier roots and reduced nutrient wastage through leaching.
How Drip Irrigation works
Tubing carries your nutrient solution directly from the reservoir to an emitter that slowly releases the solution directly into the growing media- usually expanded clay pellets or Rockwool, or similar inert hydroponic growing medium. The setup will generate run-off water which will need to be returned to the reservoir.
You can opt for a 'run to waste' setup where any excess nutrient solution goes straight to waste rather than recirculated. This guarantees maximum nutrient solution every time and prevents fungal infections.
Soilless mixes of cocoa and peat moss have the flow set to no run-off, just like in soil based drip systems. A vast reservoir feeds the plants and gravity or a water pump gets the solution flowing. Timers must regulate the flow (2 – 4 times daily) and let the medium breathe between flows.
What you need to set up your Drip System
- Emitters-one for each plant
- Spaghetti tubing-one for each emitter
- Opaque hose or PVC tubing feeds all your spaghetti tubing
- Submersible water pumps
- Tray to hold your plants include an outlet and feed it into the top of the reservoir
Apart from occasional checking for clogged emitters, the system can be left to run itself while you get on with other exciting stuff!