Drip, drip, goes the irrigation

Oh Yum! It’s the first cucumber of the season for us here. They are almost ready. I can taste it in my mouth already. It may just not make it back from the garden one day when I am out there watering. Lee will kiss me and then get suspicious of my cucumber breath and then want to know where his is. Then I will have to tell him that I accidentally ate them all while I was standing there bored watering the cucumbers. There is a lot of produce that seems to get munched on out in the garden, and then Lee wonders why those Sun Gold tomatoes are not producing very well this year…

I try not to burp too loudly when coming back from the garden.

The tomatoes seem to be doing awesome this year. When my mom comes over she laments on how well our tomatoes have set on while hers are behind. Hopefully all goes well as I have plans. BIG PLANS! Okay, well just plans of making salsa or pasta sauce.

I’ve been snacking on those too while out in the garden watering. Well, just the early one and the Sun Gold. Sun warm tomatoes are just meant for munching on. I eat them in front of the chickens and don’t share with them either.

I have already harvested a few zucchini and it looks like we may have better pollination this year. They were good also.

There are a few pumpkins starting on the vine. I have been watching over them like a concerned parent. Sometimes I take my finger and stick them in all the flowers to help with the pollination in case the bees are having a party somewhere else. Lee raises his eyebrows at me dubiously.

Some of my seeds for my winter garden have sprouted. YEAH! Now if I can keep the slugs away from them and remember to water them I just may have something going on this winter other then garlic. Not that I have a grudge against garlic, it’s just that while I am out there watering it’s not something I want to munch on.

I need to get on the ball and plant some more. I need some more prepared beds. Maybe if some more potato rows die…

Lee is putting together some drip irrigation for me. This is going to help immensely as I think some of the plants aren’t getting enough water by hand watering. That and maybe he hopes to cut down my munching while watering, so he gets more of his beloved Sun Gold tomatoes.

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8 Responses to Drip, drip, goes the irrigation

  1. Leigh says:

    Sun warmed tomatoes, yum! I’ve had lots of tomatoes, though lots of problems too. I think I need to work on some sort of irrigation system, probably for next year.

  2. Ron says:

    Man oh man… I’m a terrible waterer… so I can’t even convey how wonderful it is to turn on that faucet for a few minutes and know that every plant is getting some much-needed moisture via drip irrigation. I think you’ll find it to be a worthy investment of time, effort and money.

    My certified disease-free potatoes, 4 varieties, all got the blight, unfortunately. I think Kennebec held in there the longest, but I’m not sure. Future plans here call for ruthless rotation, irrigation, mulch, and row cover.

    Congrats on the cuke! I’m anxiously awaiting some more here… while they grow stealthily under the row cover…


  3. lee says:

    Leigh – Our cherry tomatoes look a little rough, but I hope we don’t have any problems until the rest start producing. We’re going to have some decent full size tomatoes within a week!

    Ron – Robin’s has been really dedicated at going out and watering every other day for about a month and a half. I’m hoping within a week I can almost completely eliminate that job for her. That was a great price on drip hose you found. I stocked up!

    Wow, I’m surprised your certified ones got blight too. I suppose the virus can be carried by insects, so maybe row covers on potatoes might work out. I’m still puzzled as to how people save their seed year over year. My two points of reference (my brother and my mother-in-law) are both raising potatoes at a bit higher altitude. I wonder if the cooler temps might be killing a bug which is spreading our problems here.

  4. Ron says:

    I’m glad you got the link, I wasn’t sure. That was a heck of a price for new dripline…

    As I understand it, the certification process happens early in the year, and doesn’t catch late infections of “early” blight. As an honest farmer, of course, you wouldn’t sell blighted seed taters, right? But they do, and it can live on the soil and skin of the taters, just waiting for an early, devastating, outbreak.

    I think a lot of growing taters year-to-year has to do with climate and disease pressure. Large farmer’s aren’t immune either… the farm stores didn’t have some varieties this year due to “crop failure”. When you think about it, the tuber is part of the root system… so you are really keeping a potato plant alive for a really, really long time. Not a problem if you are growing in an arid climate where home gardeners are few and far between, and take measures against outbreaks.

    For the rest of us, though, this big move to everyone growing their own may just translate into lots and lots of spore sites in the plant world… ?

  5. Lynn says:

    Your garden is so beautiful! You both should be so proud! You are right, Robin, there is nothing like sun-warmed tomatos! ­čÖé Our cucumbers were the best last year. We bought some this year from a local farmer, and we were not that happy with the flavor. Sadly this year, our cukes didn’t do well because of the heat and lack of water. I hope your cukes are the best ever!!! Enjoy!!

  6. Rachael says:

    Neat! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cucumber growing before. The other day I say a banana growing from a tree! It was crazy looking, upside down and green, and one had a big flower or something.

  7. Drip irrigation is the bomb (or so I’ve read). I’m curious about your system. Did you install a filter? And what kind of drip line did you go with? Does it have external emitters, or integrated? Do you have problems with clogging? Do you have a controller, and if so what kind?


  8. lee says:

    Hi Steven,

    When we lived in Phoenix, I installed a mix of sprinklers and drip irrigation for our house. I’ve never used it for row crops, so I’m still reading and figuring things out.

    Yes, I’ve always had an inline filter. Ours here picked up quite a lot of iron debris over the summer. I bought a mix of 1/2″ tubing with inline emitters and solid tubing into which I could install emitters. The inline emitters are regularly spaced (12″) and seem to work well for row crops and dense beds. I used the solid tubing with external emitters for widely spaced crops (tomatoes, squash, melons). I’m still figuring out the details here, but I made up 4 lines about 30′ each with 8-10 emitters on them (each on short lengths of 1/4″ tubing). They were pretty annoying to roll up for the season (they’d be better without those 1/4″ leaders), but next season I hope to just unroll and plant the starts where the emitters land.

    I always buy pressure-compensating [PC] emitters when I can. My experience in Phoenix was that even within 70′ the pressure varies enough, that without the PC emitters the ones at the start will be gushing and the ones at the end will be dripping. I also try to get one of the turbulent flow designs, or at least something that can be taken apart. These supposedly knock the sand around and wash themselves clean. I can’t say I’ve found a clogged one yet, so something must be working okay.

    We don’t have a controller right now, just a big 4-way brass valve and short lengths of garden hoses and Y’s used as distribution manifolds. I hope to eventually have a semi-permanent system with the pressure regulation, filtration, and valves all in buried pipe and risers spread around the garden to which we would attach garden hoses and drip lines to meet various configurations. I used an 8 zone controller back in Phoenix, and that definitely made life easy.

    I never really wrote up a proper post about the irrigation this year. Next year I’ll put something up after I’ve had more time to work out the kinks in my setup.

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