Watering System

drip lines in greenhouse

One of the challenges in a greenhouse is consistent watering. In fact, the first few years I had a greenhouse, I lost a few plants due to heat and dry conditions. It was quite difficult to keep up with the watering because a greenhouse gets hot during the day.

I finally installed a drip system and wow, what a difference it made in things growing! Again, I am a girl from the Midwest and there we really only had to water in the hottest month of the year --not two to three times a week! And I don't believe we EVER watered our lawn... of course we lived in the country, so our lawn was more rocks and a few cacti than anything. But here in Montana, if one doesn't water (a lot!), then things do not stay green. We DO water our lawn, whether to keep the grass alive or keep up with the greenness of the neighborhood. And so it goes with growing vegetables...water, water, water.

trench for drip lines to greenhouse  

I consulted our local contact for installing sprinkler systems. Tom (Graves Creek Saw Service in Eureka) gave us some great advice, and told us almost all of what we needed to know to install the lines ourselves. (Looking back, we would hire him to dig that trench from the house to the greenhouse! THAT was hard work!) He probably would have dug the trench and hooked it all up in FAR less time than it took us. Of course, our yard is rocky and hard, like clay. If you had 10 inches of great top soil, digging could be easy!

watering system controller  

Finally the main line was installed and we hooked up the controller. This is where it gets complicated. Every year, it seems I have to rethink how this thing works... probably because I bought a system that is capable of far more complex watering than I needed! Perhaps I will write a page detailing how these controllers work --another day. Basically, once set, this controls the valves that open and close to turn the water on and off.

water control valve  

In a sense, it is mostly maintenance-free for a while. I do check to make sure there are no major leaks now and then. But otherwise, it does its thing consistently and the greenhouse gets watered faithfully. This year I added drip lines to my three strawberry beds in the yard. They are on a different control valve, the singe one you see in the photo. The greenhouse actually uses two valves, one for lines to the outside beds, and one for the lines in the indoor beds.

drip lines in greenhouse

There are so many options for how you can then get water to all the plants. I have a main 1/2 drip hose that has holes every few feet. This runs along the beds. I then also have small 1/3 inch lines coming off of a main line and with this I can send drip lines to very specific places --like down to the ground for a cucumber plants, or over to containers sitting on a table.

drip lines in greenhouse