Reason 5 was: You can concentrate on other tasks, knowing the misting system is taking care of your cuttings. We all know that there are many things to do when propagating plants. Tending the compost pile, weed management, building new misting and grow beds, re-potting plants that have outgrown their current pot, potting the cuttings that have rooted, and of course, sticking more cuttings to make new plants.
Being able to concentrate on these tasks can be accomplished because the misting system will follow the program day in and day out without intervention. Aside from small incremental changes that need to be done to accommodate for the lengthening and shortening of the days as the season progresses, the system virtually runs itself.
“But,” I hear you say,”what about when it rains? I will need to turn off the mist so the cuttings don’t get too wet, right?”. Good question with a very simple answer. Maybe.
You have a few options to choose from when it comes to dealing with rain.
- You can just let the system run
- You can install a rain sensor
Why would you want to keep letting the system just continue to run? Remember what the reason #5 is; So you can concentrate on other tasks. Physically turning the system on and of in the event of rain can become labor intensive. You would need to constantly pay attention to when the rain starts and exactly when it stops. Turning the mist system off during rain is not the critical job, turning it back on within minutes or the rain ending is. If you get caught up doing something else, and who doesn’t, you may forget to turn the misting system back on. Within minutes, the cuttings may overheat (remember reason #1, transpiration?) and die. Just letting the system continue to run will assure that the system automatically continues to mist the cuttings when the rain stops.
For folks who are under watering restrictions or are just concerned with conserving water, there is an option with the digital mist timers to install a rain sensor. This sensor is extremely easy to install. Simply mount the sensor near your misting timer and connect the wires to the circuit marked “sensor”. That is it! Two small wires that get placed under two small screws. Worried about doing the wiring because you don’t want to get shocked? No worries, the circuit is low voltage, unlike your house wiring, which means it is much safer to work on.
Once the sensor is mounted and wired, the only thing left is to calibrate it. This simply means making a small adjustment so the sensor turns off the mist timer after a specific amount of rain has fallen. You don’t want to stop the misting system from operating during a very brief shower, but you do want to turn it off during a consistent rain. Most sensors require just a simple twist of a plastic sleeve to accomplish this. The instructions will explain how to correctly calibrate the sensor.
To test your sensor, simply wait for the misting system to operate and press the plunger on the top of the rain sensor. This will interrupt the electrical signal going to the solenoids, effectively shutting the system off temporarily. Releasing the plunger will allow the system to resume misting.
Adding a rain sensor to your misting system is just one more way to be sure your system will continue to take care of your cuttings.
Dwayne Haskell owns and operates Mistkits.com where complete misting kits, individual components, and advice can be found. After building his own misting system for his nursery, he realized he could design and build systems for small nurseries or home gardeners who are interested in starting their own plants from cuttings.
He has written an E-book titled Build an Arbor in Just One Weekend, and another on gardening, landscaping and plant propagation tips. He also enjoys teaching others how to grow their own landscape plants and owns and moderates the Mistkits blog, where you can find more articles, polls, and quizzes on landscape and gardening related topics.
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