Sunday, March 19, 2017

How does your (raised bed) garden grow?

Yes, time to get back to this spring time subject. It was a little hard to think about when I suddenly had to deal with snow (even though it was just a couple of inches and melted quickly) and an unseasonable cold snap that had me not only grateful that I hadn't carried the firewood back to the woodshed but carrying more wood up to the house. Someone in Weather Control should be appropriately disciplined.

While I should probably talk about season extenders, the next subject I had on tap was irrigation. Sure, you can simply drag around a garden hose and use a suitable garden spray wand and do it by hand, but do you want to spend an hour or three every so often doing it? You also risk damage to your plants by dragging the hose around (ask me how I know).

Better is an irrigation system. You can do this many ways, but the one I've come to like the best is drip irrigation. The best feature is that since it delivers water directly where its's needed, you use the least possible water, so you save water and if you pay for water, money. It's low flow rate means that it can be used with water main supplied systems, wells and with rain catchment systems. Because of the way it's put together, the parts can be reused to a large extent should your needs change. Using the commercially available gear it's not horribly expensive (my first foray into it, for ornamental plantings, paid for itself in a year), and if you want to go the DIY route, it can be even less expensive.

Here are a couple of videos, unfortunately each a bit longer than 5 minutes, on the subject. One is a general introduction using commercially available gear. While it's oriented to ornamental plants, the theory works for your raised beds.

The second is a DIY video is longer, since there is a lot more to go over. I really like the PVC version, and I'm going to look into building this one the next time I need more irrigation. My water is from a mains supplied system, so I have sufficient pressure for it to work. I suspect that it it wouldn't do so well on a low pressure system. They do a bit on raised beds, but not on raised beds used for square foot gardening. If you're doing square foot gardening, I think you'll need to do your holes differently.


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