Keywords: germination, peri-urban horticulture, subsurface drip irrigation, Sydney Basin, Australia, vegetables, water use efficiency, environmental impact
Precision application of water for peri-urban horticulture
Vegetables are grown in the peri-urban zone throughout Australia on various soil types and in various climates. In order to grow vegetables throughout the year, irrigation is generally needed to supplement natural precipitation. Peri-urban horticulture in the Sydney region supplies fresh vegetables, cut flowers, turf and other farm produce. Competition for water and environmental impacts (e.g. nutrient-rich runoff and drainage) will increasingly influence access to water and its price, giving rise to the need for improved irrigation techniques. Subsurface Drip Irrigation (SDI) provides higher water use efficiency and crop yields and has the potential to reduce the risk of drainage and runoff with their environmental risks. However, SDI has potential disadvantages like poor germination or crop establishment and uneven wetting pattern. Research is needed to solve these problems and produce vegetables in an environmentally acceptable way.