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Water in the air!

Evening sprinkler action

It’s supposed to rain tomorrow… I’m as skeptical as ever, still, as illogical as it is, you figure it’s gotta rain EVENTUALLY, so the longer it’s been, the more accurate the latest “60% chance of showers” forecast must be. Until then, we continue the piecemeal irrigation effort, with a combination of sprinklers and soaker hoses. The pond level is noticeably down, but bottom still isn’t in sight…and it’s gotta rain soon, right!?! :) Here, the latest beds of mesclun and spinach get their daily sprinkle. You can see by the fine mist in the air how easily much of the water can be lost to even a slight breeze, and to evaporation under a hot sun. Still, soaker hoses are only practical for larger standing crops, and pretty near useless for keeping newly seeded beds moist. From the pond pump, we get enough pressure to run four or five sprinklers and have 500′ of soaker hose set up, which means two or three of 40 sections can be covered at once. It takes a couple of hours to put down maybe 3/4-1″ of water. And the majority of days, we have to do early morning and evening sprinklers only, because of wind in the day. So, lots of moving hoses around… Next year, I’ve gotta figure out a drip irrigation solution…



  1. Steve Mudge

    Would running sprinklers until the plants are up and then putting down drip line work? Probably have to run two or three drip lines to cover those mesclun rows though. What kind of soaker hose do you use? Down in Mexico they use a lot of Hardie Bi-Wall tubing because its so cheap…but don’t know how salvageable it is year over year.

  2. Steve: Yep, drip tape is definitely the way for us to go, with sprinklers for watering newly seeded beds. Besides the efficiency, we don’t have a budget or the water for any more high-powered, wasteful method. I’ve had a 7,500′ roll of tape (Roberts Ro-Drip, 24GPH/100′) for the last two year, waiting to test. The major problem is the location of the pond. There’s no electricity, so whatever we do has to be based on a gas pump. I was concerned that it would put out too much pressure for drip tape, but I guess if we have enough of the field hooked up to tape at once, it will take use up the pump capacity. The other thing is the amount of labor required. Laying down, and then maintaining and weeding around it is more than I could reasonably handle alone, and this is the first year that I have help. Anyhow, this is three out of four years with two or three months of little or no rain, so I guess I’ve got the message: set up decent irrigation, or get tinier..! So it’s the main priority now for next year.

  3. Joe

    Hi Mike,

    I have been lurking reading blog for a while now, great stuff. I had been contemplating what an easy/simple/cheap way to supply drip irrigation would be. You are concerned about the pump being too high of pressure for the drip irrigation, my understanding is that most drip irrigation should only have about 10 psi. What if you had your pump filling a tank that was on a platform (I haven’t done the math to see how high that would have to be to achieve 10 psi) that then gravity fed your drip tape/hose? Great site!

  4. Aaron

    Hey man,
    everything looks very good. I am microfarming on an even smaller patc (about 3/4ths of an acre) out in the desert southwest. I use and would highly recommend t-tape if you have not already heard about it. It is fairly inexpensive and very easy once you run the lines out. The only minor hassle is that you have to move it out of the way to weed (not hard). You can get pressure adapters if worried about pressure issues and you could water most if not all your sections at once because it works on such low pressure. Also, none of the mud spatter, etc. of overhead. Again everything looks great, I hope in the comming years to be able to match your quality and consistency.

  5. […] garden center of a giant hardware store, where they’d stopped carrying the cheap stuff. Overhead irrigation is inefficient at any scale, what with evaporation and water being blown off target, but at this small scale, […]

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