Irrigation Techniques for Sustainability
As sustainably concerns focus on agriculture and horticulture, avoiding water waste with efficient irrigation is high on the checklist for growers at every experience level. At the same time, mixing fertilizer into your drip irrigation water — a process called fertigation — lets growers distribute fertilizer more precisely than overhead methods.
For small and large grows alike, drip tape and similar drip irrigation systems are affordable and sustainable ways to ensure plants get optimal fertilization and watering. Drip irrigation comes in several lengths and thicknesses depending on the grow and environmental conditions.
A 2006 study by the Department of Soil and Water Engineering at Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, examined the response of greenhouse tomato plants to drip irrigation and fertigation. The study found that implementing drip irrigation alone reduced water use by 50 percent compared with overhead watering, while fertigation increased fruit yields by 60 percent over the control group. For growers looking to weather the next drought, investing in a fertigation could be a smart move.
Save water, save space
Hydroponics is another growing method that produces great savings in water use — and space.
Plants in hydroponic systems are grown in sand, gravel, or water and can be stacked or grown vertically. Moreover, hydroponic systems have advanced with automation technologies, so they are even easier and more affordable to operate effectively.
With a hydroponic system, most of the water remains in the closed or covered reservoir, and the plant only takes what it needs. A 2015 study of lettuce grown in Arizona found that hydroponics systems result in about 12 times more yield per liter of water.
To ensure maximum efficiency and minimal water loss, growers recommend high quality liners and covers. Americover offers quality liners that are organic-certifiable and safe to use with food cultivation.
Sustainable irrigation is the first step toward advancing agriculture in the 21st century. If you haven’t made the switch yet, what are you waiting for?