If you're planting onions and you want the best chance at a successful crop, you need to make sure that they are watered properly. Onions require consistent water, but they also need good drainage. If they dry out, the onions will shrivel. Too much water in the soil will cause the onions to rot. The goal is to have consistent water that's not so heavy that it cannot drain away and simply leave the soil moist. Drip irrigation is often the best option in this case. Here are the steps you need to know to install drip irrigation for your onions.
What You'll Need
- Hand trowel
- Drip tape
- Drip irrigation kit
- Moisture meter
Dig the Space
Dig your furrow for the irrigation system about nine inches from the planting area where you're going to put the onion sprouts. If you put it much closer than that, you're going to risk soggy soil, which isn't good for the plants. Use a hand trowel so that you have complete control over the width and depth. Aim for about three inches or so deep and about as wide.
Install the Drip Tape
Lay drip tape flat in the bottom of the furrow that you've dug. Make sure that the tape is long enough to reach your water source. Otherwise, you won't be able to get water to the system. Attach a drip irrigation kit to the spigot you're using for your water source. The kit will come with a backflow preventer, tubing adapter, filter and pressure regulator. Attach the tubing adapter to the drip tape, then turn the water on. Watch the drip tape to make sure that it's seeping water. As long as you see a steady seeping flow of water, shut the spigot off. Otherwise, check all of your connections and the water flow at the source to be sure that everything is clear.
Fill it In and Finish the Installation
Replace the topsoil that you dug up to lay the tape. Use your hand trowel to do it, but don't pack it down. Just put the soil in the space. The looser it is, the less water will be retained in it. This protects your onions from drowning. Turn the water on, then insert a moisture meter into the soil beside where your furthest-away onion bulb is planted. Turn off the water when that meter shows moisture in the top six inches or so of soil, or until it's damp to the depth of your onion bulbs.
Put a layer of mulch over the top of the soil once you're finished. This helps to retain moisture in the soil for the week. Water the plants to that same moisture depth once every week. If you start to see signs of dying foliage, skip a week to let the plants dry out.
For professional help with this kind of installation, contact a company like H2O Lawn Sprinklers.