Design and Selection

Published on November 28th, 2012 | by Shelley Awad


Supplying Your Greenhouse With Water

How to Supply Water to your Greenhouse

In the planning stages of your greenhouse, deciding how you will supply your plants with water is a major decision. There are several options to consider including watering them by hand, which is sufficient in a really small facility or with a home attached lean-to model.  You can also pipe in water or install an automated watering system if you have a large commercial sized greenhouse.

Hand Watering

Watering your plants by hand can be time consuming and sometimes tedious if there is a considerable area to nurture. It involves carrying the water into the greenhouse from your outdoor faucet or house and using a watering can to drench the plants. If possible adding an internal faucet to your greenhouse will allow you to use a hose for watering instead of a can which will save time and effort.

Tip:  Fill a large barrel with water and keep it in the greenhouse.  Not only will this act as a heat sink, but you can dip your watering can into the barrel to save trips back and forth to your water supply.

Piping Water

Digging a trench and adding piping from your house to your greenhouse is the recommended method of watering.  This method is efficient and very inexpensive.  If you live in colder areas, be sure your pipes are trenched below the frost line so that they do not freeze.  Have the pipes come up through the greenhouse floor in a corner near your door.

Tip:Consider where your electrical power will be installed in the greenhouse so that these two are not in the same area.

Plant Drip System / Misting System

You can purchase a drip system that attaches directly to your hose with nozzles that drip or a misting system that works the same way except the nozzles mist the water instead of dripping.  In either case, you will need a hose to provide you with running water from an outside faucet, or you will need to attach the hose to a piped in faucet within the greenhouse.

Automated Watering System

An automated watering system for your greenhouse is recommended if you have a large area and many plants to take care of. Working with a timer ensures that your plants will receive the proper moisture at the right time of day, and while you are away from the greenhouse.

An automated watering system needn’t be expensive to install and with a little work, a do-it-yourself system can be adequate.  You will need a large plastic container to act as a reservoir. Position it just slightly below the level of the bench that holds the plants. You will need a water pump that can be purchased online and if you do not have an electrical outlet in the greenhouse, you can choose a battery operated model. Attach a short hose to the pump to transport the water to the pump as well as the timer.

Add a double layer piece of black polythene to the top of the bench to prevent the water from draining. Then place capillary matting on top for absorbing liquids.

Fill the reservoir with water and attach the hose to the pump with the other end in the reservoir. Plug the pump into the timer switch and set the time. (Two minutes twice a day should be sufficient for an average greenhouse.  It is wise to look up water requirements for the plants that you are growing).

When the pump runs it distributes the water from the reservoir over the capillary matting area and whatever is not absorbed by the plants is returned to the reservoir.

Tip:  You can also add a liquid fertilizer to the water for additional nutrition for your greenhouse plants.

With any watering system, moisture will accumulate on the walls and roof and to avoid forming mold and mildew, a decent ventilation system is required.  Tip: Consider a greenhouse with solar powered roof vents; side vents and an exhaust fan system.

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About the Author

Greenhouse Consultant, Shelley Awad, provides everything you need to know about greenhouses. Whether you are buying a greenhouse or you already own one, you’ll learn tips and tricks on greenhouses and how to grow year-round. Questions always welcome.

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