Automated Drip Irrigation Kits

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Hi Everyone: New here and I hope someone can help.

We need to get an automated drip watering system for our balcony plants when we go away for three weeks.

Everything is in pots. We have geraniums, tomatoes, basil, parsley and hosta. About 10 pots in all of varying sizes.

I've done some research but we still can't figure out is how to set the volume/duration and frequency of watering for a baseline to keep the plants healthy and to allow for variations in temperature, wind and weather. I know that we should put extra emitters in the plants - like the tomatoes - that need more water, but that's as far as we get.

We water based on conditions and soil need which we of course can't check while away. An average watering for everything uses about 8-10 liters of water.

How to we determine the best settings for the plants? A little bit every day? A more deep soaking every second or third day? As we're up on a hill it's a windy spot and some of the pots are on the railing so are very exposed.

Any help is appreciated. Thanks.
 

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There are timers that can connect to wifi so you can program when you're away. Something like this Orbit timer might work (I've never used, though I looked into it and then realized our wifi signal would never reach my vegetable garden). The app can also create a schedule for you based on the weather.

I've never been away for three straight weeks, but usually I'll take a look at the weather forecast and set my timer based on that. If it's going to rain, I might not even set it and just water well before I leave. If it's looking hot and dry, I'll probably have it water every third day. Really, though, a few times being watered too soon/too late isn't going to kill a healthy plant. I've returned to plants looking a little wilted, but they perked right back up as soon as they were watered and never seemed worse for wear after!
 
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Good suggestion but we don't have a tap in the apartment to hook the timer into. We need a timer that siphons water from a large bucket. And yeah, maybe we're a hair too worried about it but you do research and everything demands such precision or else.

Thanks for the help.
 
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Like a gravity fed drip irrigation? If you're doing gravity fed, then yeah, you have to have a certain slope to create enough pressure to push the water through everything. Can't say I know much about it, mine is hooked up to a tap.

I remember learning about drip irrigation and reading through the formulas for precise watering and whatnot. I ended up getting overwhelmed, too, and just decided as long as they're getting water, it's fine. Better than nothing. I followed the manufacturer's advice as far as "This type of plant will likely need this emitter", but beyond that I didn't get any more detailed. We had one of the worst droughts in the history of our region last year, and I still had a fantastic harvest.

If you're having difficult measuring how much water is coming out of your emitters, you can put a measuring cup underneath to see how much comes out in an hour. That will give you a baseline. So if you're usually dumping a liter of water on a plant every three days and you know a liter of water comes out of your emitter every hour, you need to run your system for an hour every three days to get them enough water. Very rudimentary and not really accounting for a sudden heat wave...but if your system is on a mechanical timer it's not like you can adjust the timer while you're away, anyway.
 

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