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Automatic/timer watering system for greenhouse

I know it may seem a bit early to be thinking about this however I’m the eternal optimist and hoping to get away on holiday at some point in 2021 so starting to make plans for the garden now!

I have an 8x6 greenhouse which is used solely for tomatoes. We tend (non Covid times) to be away for 2/3 weeks in both mid May and late September. Previously family members have kindly watered our tomatoes while we were gone however due to life limiting illnesses on both sides we don’t think it’s at all fair to ask for help in future and have been looking at automatic watering systems. 
We have in the past planted the tomatoes in both grow bags and also in large  shallow plastic buckets (empty cattle mineral containers). We don’t have a preference about planting so would go with whatever was best suited to the irrigation system. 
I’ve  looked at a hozelock system however would be grateful for any insight from anyone who has used something similar before. 




  • shykins
    shykins Posts: 2,758 Forumite
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    my hubby set up a watering system for most of the garden,  we have both the professional brown drip hose and the cheapy black thin drippers from china.      he used a standard plug in timer and the mains water feeds through a 12V solenoid valve available on ebay its all powered by a second hand plug in transformer.    

    let me know if need more info and I will get him to explain it mor 

    When you know better you do better

    Atkins since 2004 - 8 stone loss maintaining
  • Mickey666
    Mickey666 Posts: 2,834 Forumite
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    Not too difficult to set up a timer-based watering system but its a bit inflexible and could not take into account the weather conditions, which might lead to over or under watering.  Might not be a problem for 2-3 weeks though.  A more sophisticated system would include moisture sensors in the soil to reduce that issue.  Depend on how hardy the plants are I suppose.  A friend is a huge orchid fan and grows some fairly exotic ones.  His greenhouse has a control system to regulate temperature, humidity and soil moisture, so such systems do exist depending on your commitment and depth of pocket.  For tomatoes it would be cheaper to buy locally ;)
  • Have a look at the WiFi garden water switches. They are very similar to the standard programmable units but they allow you to control them via your phone from anywhere.
    Although your greenhouse won't be affected by rain, you could easily add a double water if  its been particulary hot that day or skip a watering if its been cool and cloudy. There are also waterproof smart sockets now, great for operating a greenhouse heater or pond pump. Im ashamed to admit I can operate quite alot of my garden remotely and see it all on a cheap outdoor  camera.
  • tacpot12
    tacpot12 Posts: 7,966 Forumite
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    This timer might form a reasonable starting point for an automatic watering system: 
    Verve Programmable Electronic Water Timer | Garden Water Timers | Screwfix.com
    The comments I post are my personal opinion. While I try to check everything is correct before posting, I can and do make mistakes, so always try to check official information sources before relying on my posts.

  • Thanks, lots of ideas and things to consider. I hadn’t really thought about anything WiFi which is ironic given that we have security cameras controlled from our phones and an air conditioning system in our US home which we also happily manage on an app. 
    Given the unpredictability of the  Scottish weather and wild temperature fluctuations that we have even in our alleged summer months it may be more sensible to opt for something which we can tailor on a day to day basis. I do know that the family members who have helped in the past  didn’t need to water if it had been cold or cloudy and conversely sometimes made a second daily visit if it was a very rare hot day.

    thank you all, lots for me to mull over now (and plenty time to plan!)

  • DB1904
    DB1904 Posts: 1,240 Forumite
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    tacpot12 said:
    This timer might form a reasonable starting point for an automatic watering system: 
    Verve Programmable Electronic Water Timer | Garden Water Timers | Screwfix.com
    Anyone here using one of these?

    I read one review where it said the 45 degree angle from the tap may cause a problem.

    Assuming it might is there an adapter to go from a hozelock fitting to 3/4" female screw thread?
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