Friday, August 7, 2009
It has been about as perfect a gardening year, weather wise, as I can remember. The temperatures have been extremely hot but we have had a decent rain every 2-3 weeks since spring...today included. We have used less water this summer than ever before, even with the close to 90-100° temperatures and an ever expanding garden.
The above picture depicts our gardens "epicenter". Isn't she a beauty? Yeah...not really. Filled with timers, modes, and valves attached to eleven hoses that stretch hundreds of feet and are attached to various soaker systems and sprinklers...the garden can literally water itself.
I set up this system a few years ago so that we could take a vacation and not worry about watering the garden in August, our driest month, it worked great. Depending upon the weather and particular location in the garden, I set the timers to water for a certain amount of time, when needed, at night. They turn on and off automatically or manually, and I am able to carefully control the amount of water I use. The timers were set up for the first time this year, a couple weeks ago, when I could no longer justify the time it took to manually water the gardens.
We use the soaker hoses on our tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, tomatillos, and the outskirts of the main garden. Everything else is still watered using overhead sprinklers that I hope to replace with soaker hoses over time. Some of our plants, like my "no water" tomatoes never get a drop of water. I have other crops that are deeply planted and mulched that I hand water once a week or so.
These little cherry tomato plants in the chicken run never get any water from me, and are just starting to produce a few nice little fruits.
Anyway, I like the automatic watering system and have cut my water output by at least half, perhaps even more this year, since setting it up. Hopefully as time goes on and I become more advanced in "no water" gardening I will no longer need to use it at all, but for now it is my best solution to water conservation in the garden.