Smart irrigation – automated garden plant watering

In summer we spend about half an hour every evening watering our plants in the garden and in the raised beds on the terrace. When we are on holiday, neighbours and family have to step in and water our plants. Two good reasons to install an automatic watering system for beds and raised beds.

Micro-Drip vs. classic hose distribution – So much choice

A problem in planning is the multitude of available systems and the fact that the manufacturers themselves often do not explain properly which system has to be used for what and which parts are mandatory or only optional.

At first I wasn’t sure whether I should install a Gardena Micro-Drip system, for example, or rather a classic Perl hose.

Both systems require a central irrigation computer that delivers water to the downstream irrigation system according to a programmed schedule. With the Micro-Drip system, however, this is followed by a pressure reducer, which reduces the water pressure to such an extent that the downstream pipe system can deliver the water drop by drop to the downstream, thin pipe system. With this Micro-Drip pipe system, I can position the nozzles flexibly and thus deliver water to individual plants. Potted plants can also be watered in this way.

Comparison of Micro-Drip and classic irrigation system
Comparison of Micro-Drip and classic irrigation system

With the classic model, I also use the watering computer, but save the pressure reducer. The supply hose is connected directly to the Perl hose with a coupling. In contrast to the Microdrip system, the Perl hose delivers water evenly along its entire length. This is ideal for my densely planted raised beds and elongated flower beds, which is why I decided against the Microdrip system and in favour of the classic Perl hose.

The brain of irrigation: The Gardena Master Irrigation Computer

Let’s move on to the watering computer. I decided to use the Gardena Master watering computer (*). It allows me to create 6 different watering schedules. Setting up and operating the computer is quick and intuitive. After entering the day of the week and time, I can create the first watering schedule. I select a start time and the duration of the watering. I also specify the days of the week on which this schedule is to be carried out.

After configuration, I insert the removable control panel into the computer installed on the tap.

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Bringing water to the flowers with the bead hose

First of all, I lay the supply line to the flower bed and use a normal garden hose for this. I now connect the Gardena bead perl hose (*) to the supply line with a coupling.

To ensure that the hose is laid reliably and does not slip later, I use regular pegs from camping accessories. I use these to fix the hose in the flower bed.

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The bead hose can be shortened at any time without major problems. To do this, I simply cut the tube cleanly at the desired end point with the string cutter. I remove the end plug from the rest and insert it with brute force into the end I cut. Since I don’t trust the material, I put on a hose clamp so that the plug doesn’t come loose at some point.

Watering schedules: how much water, for how long?

I have approached the watering schedules as follows:

I used to water the flower bed shown in this video two watering cans of 10 litres a day. So now, with the irrigation system, I also have to supply about 20 litres per day to the flower bed. Since the flow rate varies depending on the local water pressure, the type of installation and the length of the hose, I also got a water meter from Gardena (*) and used it to see how many litres of water are effectively used in one minute at my system.

Calculation for water demand with automatic irrigation based on previous watering can irrigation
Calculation for water demand with automatic irrigation based on previous watering can irrigation

I then created my watering schedules depending on this and distributed the required minutes between 8:00 in the morning and 20:00 in the evening.

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The irrigation has been doing a lot of work for me for 5 weeks now and the flowers are still doing well. For me, it’s a well-rounded solution.

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