Q. What is best, watering from above (sprinklers) or watering from below (flooding or soakers)?
A. Sprinklers are the worst – for several reasons, including 1) the great waste of water from evaporation, 2) the waste of water and encouragement of weed growth by watering the aisles, 3) the increased risk of disease infection caused by wet and humid conditions, and 4) discomfort from working in muddy conditions.
Flooding the garden area also is a great water waster. It also waters the aisles, and it often brings in weed seeds.
And there is a better solution than using soakers. 1) They sit on the ground and any back-pressure will suck soil particles into the aperture, plugging it, 2) because they are on the ground they get in the way of weeding, 3) there is no practical way to measure the amount of water your plants are receiving, and 4) the water must stay on for a very long time – potentially wasting water.
The semi-automated PVC system we use and recommend is 1)inexpensive to install, 2) lasts MANY years, 3) delivers water quickly and accurately, and 4) wastes not a drop when used with the raised – ridged beds.
The plans are in several of the books. They are also FREE on the website. You can see and download them by going to www.growfood.com/store then Books, then the Mittleider Gardening Course. On the left side of the page you will see a free chapter you can download. It’s all about the watering system.