Drip drip drip, but how often?
May 21, 2005 1:41 PM   Subscribe

How often should I drip irrigate my front yard in foggy San Francisco?

A landscaper installed a whole new front yard for me - retaining walls, drip irrigation, lots of low moisture plants. The Sunset garden book says all my plants need "moderate" or "low" moisture, and the guy at Sloat says if he watered them at all it'd only be once every 2-4 weeks for a long soak.

My landscaper set the drip timer to water 3 times a week, 20 minutes at a time. The whole hillside is perpetually wet. Most of the plants are doing fine, but the Lantana is looking very sad. I'm scaling back to 20 minutes once a week, but I have no idea how much water that really means from the drip system. What should I set it to?

More generally, how does one learn to garden? Weeding I understand, but pruning, planting, watering... what a lot to learn!
posted by Nelson to Home & Garden (4 answers total)
While I can not answer the question specifically, I can say that perpetually wet as bad as perpetually dry (water gardens being the exception). You'll find your own rhythm soon enough and remember, it is an organic thing. Some of your plants might just not do well despite all the effort that went into the planning. Be flexible.

Of late, one of our favorite gardening books covering techniques is Planting Noah's Garden.
posted by Dick Paris at 2:16 PM on May 21, 2005

What part of the city are you in? Is the normal summer sky sunny, Mission-like or foggy, Sunset-like? In any case, I'd listen to what the guy at Sloat said. They've never steered me wrong.

This book is focused mostly on raising fruits and vegetables in the Bay Area, but has a wealth of tips and information, often very specific as to which neighborhood (and the most detailed climate zone chart I've ever seen). It's an excellent resource for the beginning San Francisco gardener.
posted by ambrosia at 3:03 PM on May 21, 2005

Best answer: *looks up 94127 zip code*

Yes, do what the guy at Sloat said- try 45 minutes or so once every two weeks, see how the plants like it, and then adjust accordingly.
posted by ambrosia at 3:06 PM on May 21, 2005

Once your new, low moisture plants are established, i.e. the roots have grown into the soil and the plant is growing, they won't need irrigation. That was the point of using low moisture plants. The only time they will need watering is during an extended drought.
posted by recurve at 6:31 PM on May 22, 2005

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