The 10 Best Drip Irrigation Kits
10. Rain Bird GRDNERKIT
9. KingSo Micro System
8. Koram Easy Set
7. Orbit 69500
6. Mister Landscaper MLK-VEG
5. Raindrip R560DP Automatic
4. Dig GE200
2. Habitech Adapter Kit
1. Orbit 69525 Micro Bubbler
A Brief History Of Irrigation
When you think about the inventions and innovations that made modern civilization possible, you probably overlook irrigation. Sure, fire and the wheel are nice, but the ability to reliably grow and maintain crops almost single-handedly transformed humanity from nomadic tribes of hunter-gatherers to stable, established communities.
The first evidence of irrigation comes from 4500 B.C.E. in the Indus Valley, near modern-day Pakistan. The people in this region built artificial reservoirs to trap rainwater, which they then transported to their crops via canals. This allowed for a huge increase in the amount of food produced in the region — and, as a result, the amount of people the region could support.
A few millennia later, the Egyptians used the flooding of the Nile to trap water in plots of land surrounded by dykes. This allowed for perennial irrigation, enabling farmers to reliably and predictably water their crops, rather than just coax them through a dry spell.
Meanwhile, across the pond, tribes in the Andes Valley of Peru pioneered the use of terrace irrigation, which transformed mountainsides into steps that water would gradually flow down. Farmers were thus able to grow rice, potatoes, maize, and more in what would otherwise have been treacherous terrain.
Most of these early irrigation systems involved simply manipulating the existing flow of water, and as such, they limited the areas in which civilization could flourish. However, beginning around the 6th century B.C.E., the Chinese began to experiment with hydraulics to manipulate the course of rivers. Chain pumps and waterwheels were built, allowing farmland to stretch across the entire country.
Today, modern irrigation is a fascinating mix of the new and the old, as some of the most primitive techniques — such as siphoning off a river to flood a plain — are still in widespread use, while more advanced approaches like sprinklers and drip irrigation allow for everything from sensitive crops to public parks to thrive. In fact, some areas even water plants from the roots up, raising water tables and reducing evaporation, while others use drones to ensure pinpoint-accuracy when it comes to watering properly.
Time will tell where we go from here, but it's likely that future innovations in irrigation will involve reducing waste and limiting erosion. After all, just because we can get water to go wherever we want it to doesn't mean we should put it wherever we can.
Benefits Of A Drip Irrigation System
For many people, a drip irrigation system is the best and most cost-effective way to ensure that their lawn or garden stays healthy and fertile as long as possible.
The reason why they can save you money is because they don't use as much water as many other watering systems. Because they deliver water straight to the root of the plant, rather than dispersing it over a wide area, there's less waste without depriving your precious plants of juice.
The systems are also easier to customize to your particular situation. Most layouts use extremely flexible hosing that you can snake around obstacles, allowing you to be absolutely certain that you don't miss a single plant.
That also reduces the need to alter your landscape. You don't need to level out your lawn, or move any tree stumps or fence posts that might be in your way. It's an extremely low-effort solution, even when factoring in installation.
You'll also encounter fewer weeds when you use a drip system, as virtually all the water you use will be soaked up by your plants. There won't be large patches of wet, fertile ground for crabgrass or dandelions to sprout up, reducing the amount of time you have to spend outside with your hoe.
Drip systems aren't all sunshine and rainbows, however. You will pay a little more up-front to install one, and the sun could damage the tubes over time. Additionally, basic periodic maintenance will likely be required to ensure that nothing gets clogged.
All in all, though, you'll likely find that keeping a lush, green garden is much easier (and friendlier to your wallet in the long run) with a drip system installed.
Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Your Drip Irrigation System
Once you've made the decision to convert your landscaping over to a drip irrigation system, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible.
Before you get started, you need to plan out the system and examine your terrain. Remember that pushing water uphill requires more pressure, and you'll want to be sure that you'll have enough to sufficiently water any plants in high terrain.
Decide if you're planning on automating your entire operation, as well. Obviously, if you do, you'll need to invest in a quality timer, but that can save you a massive amount of time and frustration down the line, and isn't that the whole point of installing one of these things?
You also need to be able to look into the future a little bit. Are your plants going to get bigger and require more water? Will you be expanding your lawn or garden, and need a system that can easily be extended? While it's not essential to answer these questions before you begin, doing so can certainly prevent frustration later on.
Be sure to soak your emitters in a vinegar and water solution every now and then to prevent magnesium or calcium build-ups. If not, the system could get clogged — and your plants could get under-watered.
The good thing about these systems is that, as long as you install them correctly and don't let them fall into disrepair, they're pretty hard to screw up, so you shouldn't need to do much to get the most out of yours.
Just make sure the wet stuff falls on the green stuff.