In view of the increasingly dry summer, there is hardly a vegetable garden that can do without artificial irrigation. With these 5 tips, you can look forward to good harvests.
1. Water vegetables in the morning
If you provide your plants in the vegetable garden with water early in the morning, this has several advantages: You have relatively low evaporation losses, because the ground is still cool and the sun is not yet high in the sky. In addition, the surface of the soil is often still wetted by the morning dew, so that the water seeps away particularly well. Another advantage is that the plants do not suffer from a cold shock due to the coolness of the morning despite the cold irrigation water. If you have problems with snails in your garden, you should definitely water your vegetable patch in the morning. In this way, the earth dries off well until the evening, when the snails are really active. This makes it difficult for the molluscs to move because they have to produce more mucus and therefore lose more water.
2. Install an automatic irrigation system
Water is the most important nutrient and fuel for plants and the decisive factor for a good harvest in the vegetable garden. However, a needs-based supply of the precious liquid can hardly be guaranteed with the watering can or the garden hose. It makes a lot of sense to install an irrigation system in the vegetable patches during the season, for example the Kärcher Rain System. This is an irrigation system with different components that can be individually adapted to the needs of your vegetable garden. Depending on the composition of the individual components, the water ends up directly in the root area of the individual plants. In this way you not only water sparingly and efficiently, but also prevent the leaves from getting constantly wet – fungal diseases occur significantly less often.
So-called drip cuffs supply individual plants directly via adjustable drippers. They can be attached anywhere on the hose. If you want to irrigate a larger area, it is best to use spray cuffs, the adjustable sprayers of which can be adjusted as required. Since all types of cuffs can be combined, the Kärcher Rain System can be individually adapted to any garden size and planting. You can also control such an irrigation system with automatic irrigation systems such as the Kärcher ST 6 Duo eco! Ogic – your plants are automatically supplied with water as required.
Irrigation systems such as the Kärcher Rain System apply the water where it is needed: in the root area of the plants. Spray cuffs (left picture) are ideal for surface irrigation, while drip cuffs (right picture) are used for targeted watering directly on the plant.
3. Do not wet the leaves
When watering your vegetable patches, be careful not to wet the leaves of the plants. Background: Damp leaves are gateways for fungi and bacteria that can cause a wide variety of plant diseases. Tomatoes are particularly susceptible, but pumpkins and courgettes are also often attacked by leaf fungi. Exception: If it has not rained for a long time, you should thoroughly shower leafy vegetables such as spinach and lettuce with water once in the morning a few days before harvest. With it you rinse the dust from the leaves and cleaning is no longer so tedious later.
It is most convenient to water near the ground with a garden hose and a long watering stick – a good alternative is an irrigation system (see tip 2).
4. Pour with rainwater
Rainwater is the ideal irrigation water for all garden plants – including vegetables. Not only is it free, but it is also mineral-free, so it doesn’t leave lime stains when poured over the leaves. In addition, it is only when pouring rainwater that it is possible to accurately estimate the amount of minerals – in particular the proportion of lime – that is added to the soil during a season via appropriate fertilization.
If you have a larger garden, you should think about installing an underground cistern that is fed directly from the downpipe of the house. This means that there is a sufficient supply of rainwater available even in dry summers. With a garden pump (for example from Kärcher), water extraction is very easy: The device has a pressure switch that automatically switches the pump on if, for example, the valve on the automatic irrigation system is opened and the water pressure in the supply line drops.
5. Chop or mulch vegetable patches regularly
The gardener’s rule “hoeing once saves watering three times” has probably been heard by every gardening fanatic. And there is actually some truth to it: if the soil remains untreated for a long time, fine vertical tubes – so-called capillaries – form through which the water rises to the topsoil and evaporates on the surface. Chopping temporarily destroys the capillaries just below the surface and the water remains in the ground. In addition, mechanical tillage is of course the most important measure to keep unwanted wild herbs in check in the vegetable patch – especially since they too continuously draw water from the soil with their roots.