What a Drip!

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It may be one of the most time consuming tasks on the farm, but I love to water my garden.  I can stand out there for hours with a water hose in my hands, just watching the world go by.  It’s the one time I can stop and stand almost perfectly still for minutes at a time, moving only enough to direct the flow to another patch.  Ah, yes.  That is so soothing to an otherwise wild, crazy and hectic Farm Wife.

Hand watering is an art.  You have to get at least one inch of water to the roots of the plant, without creating puddles of run off and getting the leave of the tomato plants wet.  It is a slow, deliberate endeavor.  Depending on the size of your garden, it literally could take hours to do well.  Unfortunately, it is also a chore that keeps me from getting other things done on the farm – some of which I need to get done immediately, if not sooner.  So, I had to bow down to Mother Necessity, and build an irrigation system.

Let me rephrase that.  The Country Boy had to build an irrigation system.  Especially since I love doing things as inexpensively as possible, and considering I know better than to try and swipe stuff from his stash of bits and pieces and parts and scrap to build a project of my own.  We managed to pull together about 50% of what we needed to build it.  All we had to get was a few spigots and a couple extra connectors.

Over all, it took about two hours to complete a soaker hose irrigation system that fit my garden.  The spigots were spaced out to accommodate each row, with one left over for expansion.  I did have to buy the new hoses, as my old soakers were well ‘loved’, and beginning to sprout big holes and splits.  With care, the inexpensive ones from the dollar stores work well, and last about five years or better.  At the end of the season, I will rinse them out and off, roll them up and store them for the winter.  A few extra minutes of care equals years of use – a great trade off, if you ask me.

Now, my plants get all the water they need, straight to the roots.  With our cooler weather and all the rain we’ve had, I have only had to water them once a week.  As the days get hotter and dryer, that number will increase to up to three times a week.  During the high summer, I will turn them on before I go to bed at night, and the Country Boy will turn it off when he leaves for work, usually around 4:00 in the morning.  This way, the water has an opportunity to soak in deeply without the threat of evaporation from the sun and high temps.  Because of the regular, deep watering, my garden produces considerably better, without many issues with disease, blossom end rot and other problems.  Well, except for weeds.  Unfortunately, the weeds love this deep water system as well.

Want to build your own soaker hose irrigation system?  Join me over at the DIY page for instructions.  And, as always, if you have questions, just let me know!

Julie Murphree is a blogger, newspaper columnist, and speaker on all things ‘Living a Simple Life on the Farm’. She is the author of \\\'The Farm Wife – Living a Simple Life on the Farm. She and her husband have 60 acres in NW Louisiana where they actively work on living as sustainable as possible.

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