Irrigatia SOL-K12 Automatic Solar Drip Watering System May 2012
Irrigatia SOL-K12 Automatic Solar Drip Watering System First Look
A drip irrigation system, connected to a water butt, is an ideal way to water your garden during a hose pipe ban. Which? Gardening takes a first look at Irrigatia’s Automatic Solar Drip Watering System to see if it lives up to its claims.
Irrigatia claims that its SOL-K12 Automatic Solar Drip Watering System can water five large hanging baskets or 12 x 20 litre pots using water collected in your water butt. Simple to set up, and costing £75, the system is designed to water either small or large plants roughly every three hours with no need for constant fiddling and adjustment.
Uses only rainwater and the power of the sun
The simplicity of the system is one of its key selling points. You don’t need to have an outside tap, you don’t need a hose pipe and you don’t need any power source other than the sun. This makes it ideal not only for the patio but for a greenhouse or allotment where you should be able to set up a water butt and keep your tomatoes and other vegetables in good shape even if you can’t get down to water them.
The Irrigatia SOLK-12 waters automatically every three hours
When we first set up the system there was no charge in the battery. We placed the pump in the sun to charge and after three hours, as promised, the pump started to work. The pump works until the battery runs flat and then takes another three hours to recharge before it starts pumping water again. This means plants are watered at regular intervals throughout the day and, as the amount of charge in the battery depends on how much sun is shining, also means that plants get more water when it's sunny than when it's cloudy or wet.
The amount of water supplied to your plants also depends on the position of the control knob on the pump. This might need a bit of adjustment at first to find the optimum setting, but once that’s found there are no more adjustments to be made. Our pots of primroses stayed perky on the suggested middle setting during the dry spell of weather in March, but if you need more specific control over watering the instructions suggest putting a dripper into a measuring jug so you can find out exactly how much water is being delivered to each pot.
Can water five large hanging baskets or 12 x 20 litre pots using water collected in your water butt
The SOL-K12 kit comprises 12 drippers and 15m of tube and would be suitable for beds, baskets, row crops, pots, grow bags, specimen plants and tree establishment.
The basic pack is well supplied with the same type of tubes and drippers that you’d find in other irrigation systems on the market, which we found easy enough, if a little fiddly, to put together. These tubes allow a fair amount of flexibility about how you use the system and also mean that if your water butt is in the shade there’s enough tube to allow you to place the solar-powered pump somewhere sunny, even if that’s some distance from the pump. Irrigatia also sells an extension kit that contains another 12 drippers.
One of the things we liked about this system was the clarity of the instructions. There are certain factors to bear in mind when using any irrigation system, such as the height of the pump in relation to the source of the water and the heights of the drippers. All this is explained in simple terms in an easy-to-follow guide to setting up the system.
Pros: Simple, flexible, eco-friendly and especially useful during a hose pipe ban.
Cons: A bit fiddly to put together, though no more than other irrigation systems.