Finally I can play with my new toys

In the depths of winter last year I found love, and fell quite deeply into a covetous desire of want and longing.  And the object of my new found affection was a seemingly miraculous device that would improve my gardening experience no end.  And this wonderful item that would change my life:  a Gardena Automatic Water Distributor.  Oh what a wonderful thing.  You can read about how I discovered my latest must have >HERE< and there is even a really cute cupcake.

How cool is this!

How cool is this!

The thing is my garden is huge.  At last count there were over 30 beds.  It is probably best to stop counting after 30 or I would have to admit to some kind of horticultural affliction not so different from hording.  The other thing is my tap is too far from my garden.  It takes four 20 metre hoses joined together to reach the outer extremities of my territory.  I like to think of the land beyond as some kind of no man’s land as there always opportunities for sneaky land grabs to push the boundary a little bit further sometime in the future.

The garden as it stands today

The garden as it stands today

My irrigation system has evolved over the years. Initially I would stand there with the hose over each plant and count out to twenty as I endlessly watered my crop.  The garden was smaller then and while it took a long time it was manageable.  But the garden grew and aquatic neglect crept in.  It wasn’t working for me.  So I invested in some sprinklers and ever since my days have been dissected into 15 minute intervals, screeched out from the alarm on my phone.  I did buy a manual timer for the tap which stopped the water after 15 minutes, but I would be oblivious to the fact the water had long since stopped flowing as I went about weeding and harvesting.  So the alarm was essential if I was to ensure all my parched plants were refreshed.  I would stop what I was doing and move the hose and the sprinkler and reset the timer on the tap and the timer on my phone and carry on.

It will take a lot of water to keep this lot lush

It will take a lot of water to keep this lot lush

It was ceaseless.  I couldn’t do the whole garden in one day.  Fortunately I garden on swamp soil with the capacity to hold 20 times its weight in water.  In the winter this results in a boggy garden that would seem to be more suited to growing rice.  But in the summer it is a blessing.  The garden can survive on one deep watering once or twice a week.

Did you know tomatoes are 94% water?

Did you know tomatoes are 94% water?

So on seeing this marvellous Gardena Automatic Water Distributor it would seem all my problems were over.  I could water 6 beds in one go.  My phone would fall silent and not suffer the indignity of the being reset with a wet, muddy finger.  It is an expensive device after all, that is rarely used as an actual telephone!  I just had to get my hands on one.  When I first saw it, it was a new product about to be released.  I had to wait, which I did with great impatience.  I checked my local hardware store frequently to see if it was in yet.  Then as the year clocked over, reluctantly aging me I got the surprize of my life.  As I ripped off wrapping paper, I found in myself in possession of my hearts desire.  In my hands I held what I had always wanted (well for as long as I knew it existed.)  And not only that, I had a brand new Gardena Premium Water Computer.  I was the luckiest gardener in the world that day. You can read about the wonder and delight of receiving such fabulous gifts >HERE<.

Happy Okra

Happy Okra

And then it rained and rained and rained.  The spring was awash with disappointment.  It didn’t seem like it was worth setting up an irrigation system in the rain.  It was so disheartening.  Then as spring turned to summer, I slowly began setting up individual watering solutions for each and every garden bed.  This was a first.  It had never been done before across the whole garden.  I’d used soaker hoses before for my sensitive tomatoes, squash and spuds.  But to give everything their own personal water source was a labour of love.  In the start it was easy enough.  Pop in some hose and sprinklers or drippers as the seedlings went in.    Then the festive season struck.  All irrigation efforts ground to a halt only to resumed again in the last couple of weeks as the holidays are now well behind us.

Fail

Fail

Then I looked about and discovered to my amazement.  I’d done it!  They all had some kind of hose poking out the side of the bed.  It isn’t technically accurate by any stretch of the imagination.  A bit of trial and error and a lot of cobbling together has created a situation where all of the plant-able earth is able to be supplied with life giving moisture to all that reside in it.  Although retrospective irrigation is not an easy task.

irrigation sectors - ok not strictly 6 beds in a sector - some of the little beds have been hooked other and the flower garden may need two input hoses

irrigation sectors – ok not strictly 6 beds in a sector – some of the little beds have been hooked together and the flower garden may need two input hoses and the little ones by the greenhouse – well – they’re on there own!

Now I can open the boxes and decide how best to use these wonderful accessories that will make my gardening experience such an automated pleasure.  Now the distributor has six outlets so I will be able to do six beds at a time.  30 beds divided by 6 is 5.  So I have divided the garden into 5 sectors that will receive their water once every 5 days.  Yay for soggy swamp soil.  If I use this sector system for weeding too, then over a week the whole thing should be done with little effort.  This is getting exciting.

Now the fun part -  to hook it up...

Now the fun part – to hook it up…

I’m off to plug it all in.  I may need to create a wee portable device so I can wheel it around the garden from sector to sector without causing undue wear and tear or the need for miles and miles of hose.  This is going to be such fun.

Come again soon – for the great reveal.  Time is against us, the boffins are predicting an imminent drought situation.

Sarah the Gardener  : o )

20 Comments on “Finally I can play with my new toys

    • Hi Julie. Each year you make an improvement here and an improvement there. The thing is there will never be a day when you stop and think “I have the perfect garden.” This is one of the cool improvements. I can’t wait to get it going.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Thymewarp. Oh no. I have noticed the hills around us are beginning to go brown and the boffins are doing the “it could be a drought” forecasting. Half of me is enjoying the lovely weather, but the other half thinks maybe it would be nice if it rained overnight.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Looking forward to seeing how it all works out. I”m starting to think about adding an irrigation plan to our garden. It’s not as big as yours but we still need it!

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    • Hi Michele. I just need to build a wee trolley so I can move it all about the garden easily. I wasn’t really sure what I was doing with the irrigation system as it seemed overwhelming when I tried to plan things on paper, so I just gave it a whirl and everything gets wet when I plug in their hoses. I can’t wait to see it all come together at the end. Cheers Sarah : o )

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That moment of serendipity when you realise that you have finally finished and that it all works is pure magic :). We have taps all over the place here. I have NO idea why but there must be at least 50 taps on our 4 acre property. We can’t walk very far without there being a tap. Water used to be free in Tasmania but when they started charging my dad stopped using the fully automatic watering system and even though we tried to resurrect it, it was cactus :(. We don’t have a garden as big as yours but we aspire to it and a food forest of food producing trees as well so we are going to have to come up with some seriously interesting ways to water it all. Lovely post Sarah and you are a very lucky girl 🙂

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    • Hi Fran. A large garden is a demanding beast. Luckily there is a delicious outcome or it would be an act of madness. The constant need to water, harvest, weed, process the harvest can easily fill a day, leaving you with little energy for much else. Just as well I love it as it doesn’t leave a lot of room for much else unless I’m intentional about it! Improving the water system will give me some lovely precious time. Cheers Sarah : o )

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Lucinda. I guess it is a little like having kids – you forget all about the delivery when you decide to have another new bundle of joy. With kids and gardens, the hard work is always richly rewarded.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Alys, I am really looking forward to plugging it in. But I have to make a wee trolley to I can move it around the garden. The pressure is off a little as, after no rain for a week, we had good rain for the last too nights. Cheers Sarah : o )

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  3. Pingback: I’ve been rescued from myself | SARAH THE GARDENER

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