Advantages of Irrigation
With irrigation you can grow vegetables in the dry season. Low cost drip irrigation saves water, lets you grow more tomatoes and double your profits.
Drip irrigation applies water drop by drop. The slow drip keeps the soil loose so water and air can reach the roots. Drip irrigation is not as stressful for the plants as flood irrigation, where the soil gets very wet all at once and then dries out. With drip irrigation the water reaches slowly and steadily deep into the soil. The drops do not touch the tomato flowers and do not knock them off.
Drip irrigation helps avoid diseases. And if you do spray a product against pests, drip irrigation does not wash it off.
How to make drip irrigation
1. Make a hole in the bottom of a plastic bucket and fill it with water, using a screen to keep it clean. Make a support that will not fall down in a strong wind. The higher the bucket is, the faster the water will drip. A 200 litter bucket on a 90 centimetre stand can water 200 tomato plants.
2. Use two plastic pipes 15 meters long, placed 60 centimetres apart. Make small holes in the pipes every 30 centimetres, which is the distance between tomato plants. Lay the pipes on the ground with the holes face up, to keep out the dirt.
3. Transplant the seedlings 30 centimetres apart, with one plant on each side of the pipe. Mulch keeps the seedlings cool and moist.
4. Two weeks after transplanting, place one urea super granule and a pinch of NPK fertilizer about one finger deep under each drip.
5. Refill the bucket once every other day or more depending on the soil type and the needs of the plant. Once the plants start flowering, they need more water. Reduce the water when the fruits are fully gown, to speed up ripening.
6. Clean the bucket every week because dirt will block the pipes. Suck the dirt out of the pipes until the water runs clear. Slightly tapping a blocked hole can help to unblock it.