Drip Irrigation for a Potager

January 15, 2013

Potager gardens have many advantages, but they do present a challenge when it comes time to irrigate. Aside from the wasteful effects of sprinklers that fling water through the air, my garden beds are divided by paths so setting up a hose-end sprinkler isn’t really an option.

Individual beds divided by pathways leads to watering challenges.

Individual beds divided by pathways leads to watering challenges.

I looked into drip irrigation systems and planned two zones, the left and right sides, and further divided those into separately controlled systems for each planting bed. This allows me to water each area for different amounts of time and more or less frequently depending on the needs of the plants in each bed. The image below shows an inaccurate draft of the initial plan and was used as a guide when buying the equipment. I ordered everything online from dripworks.com. They are very helpful! The plan below was adapted to include valves for each bed.

valves for left and right zones

valves for left and right zones

draft of irrigation plan

draft of irrigation plan

I used 1/2 inch black tubing (solid like a hose) for the main runs and 1/4 inch drip line (valves embedded in tubing and sized to allow a certain amount of water out). The valves are placed in the 1/2 black tubing at control points and the 1/4 inch tubing is inserted into the 1/2 tubes as needed.

Each watering zone is controlled by a valve.

valve to control flow

valve to control flow

A punch is used to insert the 1/4 inch drip tubing into the 1/2 inch solid hose at any point. The solid hose can cross pathways (just cover it with mulch to hide it from view) and carry water to the beds.

sold hose crossing path

solid hose crossing path

1/4 inch drip tubing irrigating a bed

1/4 inch drip tubing irrigating a bed

Installation is simple and only requires a few tools: scissors to cut the tubing; a punch for inserting dripline; and little thing to insert the caps or pointy ends on the dripline.

Bed-specific watering reduces waste and leads to beautiful harvests.

Bed-specific watering reduces waste and leads to beautiful harvests.

Butterfly Tree

November 7, 2012

Our cypress tree is covered with butterflies! There must be more than fifty flying around and stopping to soak up some rays!

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Mostly Caterpillars

November 2, 2012

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Is it fall already?

October 7, 2010

It turns out that I really am the world’s worst blogger. I have many excuses and some pics so please forgive me. I got engaged at the end of June and Bridezilla channeled all my energy and computer time into planning the most special day of my life. But life in the garden went on as usual. Proof is below.

This pic is from July 9 and shows tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, eggplant. They were all delicious.

 

Photo taken on July 24

 

I bought 4 goldfish when I put the plants in the stock tank pond. I think I have about 4 million now. You can see one of the spawn in this photo. There is some strange genetic mixing experiment going on in there and now I have some striped fish and black fish and fish with different colored tails. I’m about to open a carnival game out back with fish as prizes. Come try your luck!

 

 

Photo taken on July 24

 

Here is a little glimpse of the lushness of mid-July. Pepper and tomato plants are in the background.

 

 

Photo taken on July 24

 

I can’t remember if I posted about starting peppers from seeds I picked up at the Chile Pepper Institute at New Mexico State University. Anyway, these peppers are NuMex 6-4 (or something like that) and they are major producers! I had my own little Hatch chile roasting fest one weekend morning.The freezer is full of roasted chiles, pastes, and salsas.

 

 

Photo taken on August 6

 

I went on the Wimberley Garden Tour with a friend who lives out there and we grabbed lunch at the Thyme and Dough Cafe on 290. There is a garden shop attached and the owner’s five year old son is a budding gardener. For a whopping 50 cents I bought a tiny little cantaloupe plant he had started from seed and planted it in the garden. I think we got a total of 6 beautiful cantaloupe from it in August and a few more are ripening on the vine as I write. The fall rains revived the plant and it flowered once again. They are so good!

 

 

Photo taken on October 5

 

I think this might be the last of the summer harvest. I went out to the garden the other night to grab a few okra pods before they got too big and stringy and found lots of peppers and a gorgeous eggplant. Neglect does a garden good!

Sunny days are here again!

June 17, 2010

Thankfully, blossom end rot seems to be a thing of the past. I’m actually not even sure that these are from the same plant as the sickly specimen I posted earlier (someday soon I’ll take pictures of the wilderness area that is the tomato patch) but they are beautiful and super tasty so that is all that really matters.

I think I might have to change the title to Mostly Bugs as I have encountered more than I care to and often stumble upon these little vignettes that poignantly illustrate the circle of life.

And then there are the mystery creatures like this prehistoric looking caterpillar found living on the lemon tree.

Tomato troubles

June 11, 2010

I picked the first large ripe tomato and this is what it looked like on the bottom.

What is causing this? Freak occurrence or something that will happen again?

Watery wonders

June 9, 2010

My usual morning routine includes a brisk walk around the neighborhood with the beast. He usually terrorizes a few cats, birds, and squirrels and I remark how I really should have my coffee before our stroll. Upon our return to the old homestead we usually take a turn around the garden to see what’s happened during the night. This morning was no different. The pond was pretty full from the rain and everything looked as it should.

So we went inside for coffee and to prepare for the workday ahead of us. Perhaps I dawdled longer than I should have choosing my outfit and savoring my coffee. I finally left the house sans camera and only thinking of the meetings ahead of me when I spotted a FLOWER in the pond. The first of its kind since buying the plant in March. It had bloomed in less than 45 minutes and was a beautiful shell pink. I took a quick pic with my phone knowing I wouldn’t be home until after it closed again. Enjoy!

Bug-o-rama

June 7, 2010

I think it might be time to come to grips with the fact that I don’t really have a garden so much as an insect amusement park. I’m way past the point of classifying them as “good bugs” vs “bad bugs” and have come to accept them as customers at each of my attractions.

We’ve got swallowtail caterpillars enjoying Feast o’ Fennel

There are multiple generations of what I think are leaf-foot beetles enjoying the heyday of the Towering Tomatoes with an occasional few dozen also visiting the Bucket of Death (not pictured due to gruesome nature). These guys might be the most intelligent insects I have ever encountered what with their attacking dives at my head and adept avoidance of the Glove of Doom.


Good times are here!

May 25, 2010

My long absence is due to lots of work and too little rain. When I wasn’t working,  I was holding a hose or moving a hose or trying to put two broken hoses together to make one sorta OK hose. It took a lot of time and it really wasn’t that fun so I certainly didn’t want to blog about it. However, one of the benefits of rising before the sun to water your garden or to go to work or walk the dog before you do either of the other things is that you get to see a lot of moths. I even saw what I later found out was a hummingbird moth or something like that. It was very cool and a little scary. I will research it soon. Anyway, the school year is winding down and projects are coming to a close which means a little more time to post some photographs from the last few weeks. Enjoy. Lots more to come soon because I am in the midst of installing an above-ground drip irrigation system (so relieved to not have to hold the hose anymore!) and because there is so much growing!

These strawberries have been delicious!

My newish Improved Meyer lemon tree conveniently positioned near the door. The blossoms smell divine!

Fresh peaches for cobbler!

We have lovely avian visitors to the pond every evening. Actually, most of them are horrible grackles or dumb doves and they have been ruining my plants and driving the dog insane.

This is what gardening is all about. Check out the growth since last September. I just looked at the photos and can’t believe the difference and I live here!

Femme fatale

April 21, 2010

It turns out that the tree I thought was a Mexican plum is actually a peach tree! I can’t wait for cobbler, fruit fresh from the tree, and maybe even preserves. I spread some mulch around the base of the tree and it is really loving all the rain. Check out these babies! Mmmmmm.

So you can imagine my horror when I came across the leaves below. What on earth was causing this harm to my beloved peach tree?

I went in for a closer look and saw these blooming beauties that had sprung to life after the recent rains.

They were rubbing against the leaves like some underage girls trying to sweet talk the bouncers on Sixth Street. Beware of the thorns of the femme fatale!


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