This issue we put the spotlight on a method that is simple to set up and produces results so good that it is utilised in commercial growing applications across the globe, from producing quality tomatoes for the biggest UK supermarkets to producing top quality smoke for the coffee shops of Amsterdam. Our quest for quicker crop cycles and heavier yields continues; this issue, we take a closer look at the drip irrigation…
Think of drip irrigation and what springs to mind? Probably large scale greenhouse cultivation; acres and acres of tomatoes or cucumber plants, grown on rockwool slabs with miles of dripper line connected to computers that control complex feeding schedules. A little too complicated for the home grower, right? Wrong! Drip irrigation is one of the simplest and most flexible hydro methods on the market and it is available on any scale, from one plant upwards!
Drip irrigation systems for the home grower offer the quicker growth cycles and bigger yields of active hydro, with the flexibility to grow in any medium – soil, coco, rockwool or clay – and even grow in pots.
So, how does drip irrigation work? Let’s start at the beginning…
What is drip irrigation?
There are many types of drip irrigation, but they all work on the same principle. Your plants are started in a growing medium and a dripper is placed into, or suspended over, the medium. The dripper is attached to a dripper line, which is in turn attached to a pump.
You keep your nutrient solution in a reservoir and, at periods set on a timer, nutrient solution is pumped from the reservoir, through the dripper line and delivered to plant via the dripper.
The nutrient solution works its way through the medium and over the roots of your plants, draining out through the growing medium and drawing oxygen into the root zone. Feeding small doses of water and