Drip Tape to the Rescue

Having finally broken down and converted to drip irrigation, I’m just sorry I didn’t do it years ago.

Some years (like last year for example) we need to irrigate very little.  But when a year like this one comes around (no rain for a month), irrigation is crucial.

We’ve been getting by with sprinklers and garden hoses. But that is a terribly inefficient way to irrigate; it wastes a lot of water, you water more weeds than plants and you don’t get even coverage throughout the garden.

How not to irrigate (if you have any other option)

How not to irrigate (if you have any other option)

I’ve been reluctant to make the investment, but now that I have I see easily that the advantages of drip irrigation are even greater than I’d assumed. With drip tape you use far less water, you deliver the water right to the roots and you only water the plants you want to water.

It’s easy to install. With the right implements on a tractor it would be even easier.  But I did it by hand and by myself.  It was time-consuming, but not difficult.

We attached the filters and regulators to spigots.  Not ideal, but we couldn't afford to wait on better solutions.

We attached the filters and regulators to spigots. Not ideal, but we couldn’t afford to wait on better solutions.

Then you lay the header pipe.  I didn’t think to take a picture of that.

I used a tobacco stick to make a spool

I used a tobacco stick to make a spool for the drip tape.

Roll the tape out to the end of the row, then fold it over, cut a little piece off the end to make a sleeve, and it slip it over the folded tape.

Roll the tape out to the end of the row, then fold it over, cut a little piece off the end to make a sleeve, and it slip it over the folded tape.

Pin the end of the tape down with a garden staple.

Pin the end of the tape down with a garden staple.

Use the punch to push a hole in the header pipe, insert the fitting, attach the tape, and tighten the connectors.  No clamps necessary.

Use the punch to push a hole in the header pipe, insert the fitting, attach the tape, and tighten the connectors. No clamps necessary.

There are little holes in the tape every 12 inches.  The water oozes out a drop at a time.

There are little holes in the tape every 12 inches. The water oozes out a drop at a time.

All you see on the surface are wet spots, but beneath the surface, where it matters, the ground is getting soaked.

All you see on the surface are wet spots, but beneath the surface, where it matters, the ground is getting soaked.

A happy garden.

A happy garden.

Ready to bring the squash to life

Ready to bring the squash to life

Another happy garden.  I installed the lines in 9 of our 21 gardens.

Another happy garden. I installed the lines in 9 of our 21 gardens.

Just two days earlier this garden was a desert.  But now the beans are up and growing.

Just two days earlier this garden was a desert. But now the beans are up and growing.

Now our beans, squash and melons are up and thriving.  Our tomatoes, peppers and eggplant are healthy and happy.

I think we going to have good summer gardens after all.

Advertisements