Every grower wants to grow the best they can without breaking the bank. Sometimes that is done by keeping the grow small and hand watering.
But what about when you want to start scaling? Can hand watering still be an effective way to maintain your plants?
The biggest benefit to hand watering, and the reason most choose to hand water, is the costs. Hand watering is CHEAP.
All you have to do is remember to mix your nutrients properly, and make sure not to overwater your plants and you just saved a thousand bucks. For others, it's more about having that personal control and connection with the plants.
When you water each plant individually by hand, you also get a chance to scope each plant out and make sure there aren't any issues. But that's not to say hand watering is without its flaws.
Other than the money you save and that extra care you personally have to put into each plant when you hand water, there aren't many more benefits.
Unfortunately as much as some growers like the human aspect of plant maintenance, that human aspect can also bring human error. Over-feeding/over-watering is one of the most commons ways a grower can kill a plant.
Unless you are measuring out the exact amount of water and nutrients for each plant and pouring it to those measurements, your risk of over-feeding increases. All it takes is a couple plants dying from over-watering for a grower to start considering irrigation.
No matter if you're growing in plain potting soil, using a soilless medium or growing with hydroponics, you can set up an irrigation system to help water and feed your plants.
Additionally for any grower looking to scale their operation over time, irrigation is the best solution. And it can be done DIY.
While the costs are higher than hand watering, setting up an irrigation system properly will pay itself off in as little as just one harvest. It can be entirely automated too, leaving you with more time to take care of your plants.
Irrigation allows the grower to program exact nutrient doses, schedule precise feeding times, and control how much water each plant gets simultaneously. Just think of the time that saves you to focus on other things that need your attention!
To get a step by step guide on setting up irrigation, check out this interview with Michael Box from Sustainable Village and Blumat Watering Systems on The Real Dirt Podcast hosted by Cultivate's own Chip Baker!