Automatic Watering Systems for Greenhouses

Written by jorden kolpin
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Automatic Watering Systems for Greenhouses
The installation of an automatic watering system can save growers time and money. (new plants in greenhouse image by ann triling from Fotolia.com)

Automatic watering systems in greenhouses save growers time and money. By using an automatic watering system, growers can water with more precision and less waste, while growing healthier crops at the same time. With all the different automatic watering systems to choose from, growers can tailor their watering systems to the individual crops they're growing.

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Perimeter Watering

Perimeter watering provides water to plants through nozzles attached to a PVC pipe that runs the length of a bench. Nozzles rotate 180, 90 or 45 degrees and are staggered along the pipe. Water is delivered to the plants under the foliage. This system is not recommended for plants that do not tolerate moisture on their leaves.

Tube Watering

Polythene tubes provide water directly to individual pots in a tube watering system. Tubes attached to a water-supply pipe run from the water source to the pot, where a water emitter releases water. For this system to work properly, benches must be level to ensure even watering of plants. This is an ideal system for hanging baskets.

Ebb and Flood Benches

Ebb and flood watering systems use watertight benches to provide nutrient solutions for plants. Tables have channels in the bottom and, when flooded, water is evenly dispersed throughout the table. The water is allowed to sit for 10 to 15 minutes, allowing the growing media time to absorb it through holes in the bottom of pots. Ebb and flood tables must be installed level to ensure even water flow and rapid drainage.

Floodfloors

Floodfloor watering is similar to ebb and flood watering, but plants are placed directly on a concrete floor. Floors are watertight and have a series of holes that run along the middle. A PVC pipe with holes along its length is installed below the floor and pumps nutrient solution through the pipe and onto the concrete floor. The floor floods, and water is allowed to stand for plants to absorb it. The solution is then sent back into a holding tank. For best results, growers should consider floodfloor heating as well. Heated floors help keep roots warm and aid in the floor drying faster.

Capillary Mats

When using capillary mats to provide a nutrient solution to pots, pots are placed on top of a mat that is kept constantly moist. Tubes run the length of the mat and disperse water. The plants then take up water through holes in the bottoms of the pots.

Trough Watering

Trough watering systems consist of plastic or metal troughs that are installed at a slight angle. Pots are spaced along the trough, and water is pumped upward. The water flows past the base of the pots, and plants take up the water. The water is then collected in a gutter at the base of the trough and returned to the water reservoir.

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