Benefits of Hand Watering
With the evolution of irrigation systems comes an increasingly complicated world of meters, timers, solenoids, drippers, fittings, overpriced plastic pieces, and computer programs. It's easy to get lost and rely on a complicated system to do the very task that can connect you to the plants you care for. Knowing when the plants need water, and giving them the direct attention of hand watering builds a solid connection with your plants.
Tips For Hand Watering
Hand watering greenhouse crops with a hose is a labor-intensive task. Because of the labor intensity, difficulty in applying uniform watering, and heavier water use, hand watering is not a commonly chosen option for irrigation. Here are some tips for overcoming those obstacles to hand watering.
- Avoid using high-pressure water. A sprayer attached to the hose will deliver water best when set to provide a gentle and uniform spray.
- Water plants near the surface of the soil to avoid getting the foliage wet and to deliver water so it easily penetrates the root zone.
- Spraying each plant for a count of 3 will help control the amount of water applied to each plant.
Commercial Cultivation Needs Automation
For many commercial cultivation facilities, hand watering is out of the picture. With thousands of plants needing water daily, a complex irrigation system is a must. But for the smaller-scale farms, the upfront expense doesn't always pan out. Hand watering is often regarded as being labor-intensive and wasteful, but with the right training and cultivation practices, it doesn't need to be.
Personal Attention to Each Plant
When a person is watering a plant it gives them the opportunity to spend brief moments with each plant. Depending on the size of the pot that the plant is in, these moments can range from multiple seconds to multiple minutes. Regardless, this moment of interaction will give the opportunity for direct observation of each plant, looking for anything out of the usual or simply admiring the beauty and power of the plants. With automated irrigation, it's easy to just trust the system and overlook individual plants by scanning across the whole production area as a unit. In this respect, hand watering your greenhouse crop can help identify problems early and make sure concerns are addressed.
Minimal Upfront Cost
Another benefit to hand watering is the pure simplicity of the system. All you need is a nice hose, wand, and nozzle. Take some time to find the nicest pieces you can, as they will make your life much easier, some high flow nozzles (also known as water breakers) are capable of flow rates up to 11 gallons per minute! The beauty of the system is that if something breaks or starts leaking its very easy to replace on your own. If you have affordable labor available, hand watering can be inexpensive.
Hand Watering Downfalls
There are some downfalls to hand watering, and most of that comes from staff. It is very important to come up with a uniform system to make sure plants are getting enough water (but not too much) and that plants are not being missed. Attention to detail and reliable workmanship are traits that your staff needs to have in order to have a good hand watering regimen for your greenhouse.
Puddles and pooling water are another downfall that is more commonly seen with hand watering. Moisture on floors and too much moisture in plants will encourage pests and pathogens. Again, the staff needs to be attentive to this and clean up spills and puddles!