After planting the seeds and seedlings, the water needs of the plants are considered. Plants should be watered to dissolve the nutrients in the soil to enable the roots to absorb and transport these to the leaves. Water is the key to plant growth. The seed coat absorbs water that breaks the food reserves, which are then used in the process of respiration. As roots break out of the seed coat and absorb water and nutrients from the soil, the cells of the embryo enlarge. The shoot then moves up toward the surface of the soil to the light whilethe roots anchor the plant to the ground and hold the soil particles. Thus, a new plant is born.
Water nourishes the plant by making nutrients in the soil available to the plant. The amount of water needed by the crop depends largely on the type of vegetable and the characteristics of the soil where the vegetables with shallow roots thickly grow near the soil surface. The deeper the root growth, the more water should be supplied at longer intervals.
Various soil types differ in their ability to hold and release water. For sandy soil, add water more often in smaller amounts. For clay soil, add water in greater quantity but less frequently.
Sources for which Plants Get Water
Plants get water from several sources, which may either be natural or manmade.
Rain. Planting is usually done by farmers during the rainyseason to ensure constant supply of water for their crops.
Manual distribution of water. Farmers gently pour a day’s supply of water on the soil surrounding each plant.
Irrigation. Sources of irrigated water are rivers, mountain streams, or reservoirs of stored water. Water from its source is conducted through a path of canals leading to lands needing water.
Types of Irrigation
There are various ways of irrigating land.
Sprinkler irrigation. This method of irrigation is used in sugar cane plantation. Water in the form of artificial rain is supplied using the sprinkler made of aluminum or plastic or through a water hose.
Surface Irrigation. This method is done in rice farming and in areas that are sloped by about 10 to 30 cm for every 30 meter row of crops. Water is allowed on the soil surface through small narrow canals adjacent to the rows of crops. When the land is flat, an area filled with crops is flooded with water. The borders are raised to hold the water.
Drip or Trickle Irrigation. This method supplies water in small quantities directly to the root systems of plants. There is hardly any wastage.