Q. Won’t soaker hoses work as well as PVC for automating my watering? And sprinkling is easiest of all, why not just sprinkle everything?
A. Problems with drip or soaker-hose irrigation include: 1) Water must be left on for long periods of time; 2) There is no way of knowing how much water (too much or too little) is being applied; 3) the hose on the ground makes it difficult to weed; 4) the hose, being on the ground with the weeds, gets damaged in the weeding process; 5) dirt sometimes plugs the holes, making it inefficient. 6) hoses become brittle and have to be replaced 7) soaker hoses generally cost more than PVC.
Drilled PVC pipes will last a LONG TIME if cared for decently. I am aware of 26 year-old pipes still working well. The pipe is off the ground, so it’s not in the way of weeds, and there’s no back-flushing. Watering is quick – only 2-3 minutes per bed. No water is wasted, because you know how much is applied. The straight, rigid pipe can be lifted out of the Grow-Bed in seconds, if necessary for weeding, etc. It is less expensive, and available most places in the world.
Sprinkling: 1) wastes a great deal of water to evaporation, and by watering everything in the garden; 2) weeds grow anywhere water is applied, therefore weeding is greatly increased; 3) increased weeds rob vegetables of necessary nutrients, reducing the crop; 4) weeds compete with vegetables for light, further reducing the crop; 5) water on plant leaves encourages fungus diseases; 6) bugs, snails & slugs proliferate in the wet environment.