Greenhouse Watering Techniques
One can spend quite a bit of money on a greenhouse watering system, even for a small greenhouse. The advantages of greenhouse watering systems obviously center about lessening the time and effort required to manually water the plants on a regular basis. If there is a disadvantage to an automatic system, it may be that all of the plants do not require the same amount of water or frequency of watering, which can make a watering system somewhat complicated and therefore expensive. Things could get to a point where manual watering becomes less time consuming and more efficient that time spent tinkering with and constantly adjusting an automatic system.
Naturally if you're just growing a few vegetables or annuals, and don't have a green house full of exotics, some of which require misting and other which definitely do not, a one-style-fits-all system may be just fine. Three basic systems to consider would be an overhead spray system, a drip irrigation system, and a capillary water-from-beneath system.
No Splashing – Spraying, misting, or both are usually adequate greenhouse watering system approaches. The one thing you are well advised to avoid is splashing, one reason why bringing the garden hose into a greenhouse to wet everything down generally isn't a good idea. Unless the greenhouse sits on a gravel substrate, splashing could result in pools of standing water, something you don't want for several reasons.
Consider A Cistern - In many, if not most areas of this country, the cistern is something from a bygone era, just as is the rain barrel. For those who love interesting projects to work on, a greenhouse watering system consisting a cistern, barrel, or trough to collect rainwater, and a means of draining the water into the greenhouse to feed, for example, a drip irrigation or capillary system, might be fun and rewarding to put together.
Something even experienced gardeners don't always realize is that rainwater is the best water you can give to a plant, for the simple reason that rainwater contains much more nitrogen than does tap water, or even well water, and we all know how plants respond to nitrogen.
If you do go the cistern route, you'll need to elevate the system at least to the level where you can get a flow of water into the greenhouse. You don't need much in the way of pressure, so a cistern approach doesn't have to resemble a private water tower.
Hose, Regulator, And Timer - Another approach, this time using water from a spigot, would require hosing, something to regulate the flow, and a timer. This would be easier to put in place than a cistern, though you'd lose the benefits of giving your plants rainwater.
Products On The Market - Many of us are a little leery of do-it-yourself projects that involve water, electricity, or both. In that case, one would naturally look for watering systems in the marketplace, where there is a wide variety to choose among. Here again, you can go from the very simple to the very complex, based upon your needs. Some of these systems you can install yourself without even having to resort to "instructions for dummies". For other systems it might be best to have the retailer or a contractor do the installation, including any fine tuning that might be needed.
Whether you choose a drip system, a water-from-beneath system using capillary action, misting, or overhead spraying, there are plenty of ideas and products to choose among. Just don't get something that involves a lot of splashing, and you probably won't get into any trouble. You might even end up being the only person on your block who has a cistern in their back yard.