Irrigation of the Beds
Jim - concerning the watering of the beds - if using the pipes, is water running
thru them to create a constant drip or are the faucets turned on for a length of
time to allow 1 inch of water to accumulate.
Since the plants are planted closer together, would this inhibit the air flow
that helps to dry the leaves of the plant if watering overhead? Or is overhead
watering not recommended.
I have been using a watering wand that I point to the base of the plants and
flood the area.
I can see the irrigation method to be easier but I was thinking of using a hose
from my house (I have only a small yard), connecting to the pipe for a period of
time before moving to the next location.
Sorry for all the questions, I am trying to adapt what you are advocating to my
situation. Last growing season I experienced problems with calcium deficiency
in my tomatoes, so I definitely see the need of the nutrients. If the
irrigation system is not to be constant, I can adapt that, too.
A watering wand will work for a small garden. Another way to do it with less
constant supervision is to wrap an old towel around the end of the hose to slow
down the flow of water, set it at the end of the bed and let the water fill the
bed from end to end. This of course presupposes that you have leveled your beds
If using automated watering, you turn the water on for just a few minutes, just
long enough to give you 1' of water in the planting area. We don't like the
soaker hose idea much, because you don't know how much water your plants are
getting - it could be way too much, or not enough.
To automate the watering for a small yard I would look at the plans in chapter
16 of the Mittleider Gardening Course book (if you don't have it and can't get
it right now, the chapter is available free on the website, in the Store
Make enough pipes for all of your beds. You definitely don't want to be moving
the pipes from bed to bed. Just connect all of the pipes together with a Header
pipe, and place a plastic ball valve at the head of each bed, so you can water
one or two - or as many as you have pressure for - beds at one time.
The holes in the PVC pipes are pointed down to the dirt, with the pipe raised
off the ground about 3" - placed on short pieces of 2 X 4s. Don't water the
plant leaves, since that encourages diseases and loses water to evaporation.
Don't stop with just the lime! Use everything, and you'll have wonderful
success. Now, please forgive me as I vent for a couple of minutes.
It's so funny (actually it's really SAD!), I was reading on a very big website
today and the "expert" wrote that it is "dangerous to force-feed your plants
with synthetic chemicals". Now, I agree with that!! Don't any of you DARE to
take a big hypodermic needle filled with "synthetic chemicals" (whatever those
are) and forcefully inject it into each of your plants' stems! It's dangerous to
your plants' health!!
The reality is that it’s impossible to force-feed your plants. They get nutrition by osmosis, which dictates that the movement of a solution is from an area of lesser salt concentration to an area of greater salt concentration, until the two are equalized. Therefore, if excess fertilizer (which is salt) is applied to the soil water at the root zone of the plants the excess salt will draw the water OUT of the plants. They can’t possibly take it in!
In addition, "since a plant can't tell the difference between nitrogen
from a leaf and that from a fertilizer bag" (J. I. Rodale), and since the plant
accepts mineral nutrients only by the process of osmosis through its root hairs,
and since the ONLY WAY to assure that your plants have proper balanced nutrition
is to know what is in the soil water by which they are fed, it makes sense to me
to spend a few pennies to provide that balanced nutrition of natural mineral
nutrients, instead of GUESSING what they might be getting from a bunch of manure or compost.