Water Water Everywhere

April 29th, 2009

It’s raining! And we’re stuck inside, so it seemed like a good time to write a post about water, irrigation to be precise. Spring is the time for setting up irrigation for the rest of the season, and we’ve been doing our best to get all our hoses in a line so none of the new seedlings go thirsty.

There are a lot of different options when it comes to watering systems, but we mostly use drip tape irrigation on the farm. Drip tape is just that: tape (more like a really flat hose) that drips. It has little holes punched in it at intervals that let the water out. Drip tape is great because it provides a slow, steady source of water to the roots of the plants. It uses water a lot more efficiently than overhead sprinklers, since you’re not losing much water to evaporation, and it is more targeted—so you don’t end up watering all those dandelions that are right next to your tomatoes.

One of Tyler’s goals this season is to learn more about irrigation, so he’s been our main go-to man when it comes to setting up and fixing the irrigation. In the photo below he is attaching drip tape to one of the header hoses (a sturdy hose that brings the water to the target field). That red knob is a little valve that can be turned on and off to start or stop the flow of water to that particular bed of vegetables.

You might be wondering what all that plastic on the ground is about. The plastic serves several purposes: First, since it’s black, it traps heat in the ground and since it’s impermeable, it also prevents evaporation of the water coming from the drip tape underneath it. Second, it acts as a mulch and keeps weeds out. We lay it out at the same time as the drip tape, and it’s especially good for vegetables that like their homes to be hot and steamy, i.e. tomatoes, peppers, squash, and cucumbers. In fact, the tomatoes that we planted yesterday went in fields with this plastic-drip tape set up!And to finish us off–here’s Tyler lounging on the irrigation hosing–This stuff just has so many uses!