Sorting out the watering

(A paid post with the good people from GARDENA NZ)

The thing I love about the garden is there is always something new to do or discover.  But the knock on effect of this is there are some things that were once new to you that you just wouldn’t be without.  And one of those things is irrigation.  The garden is big and to water each individual plant with the water they need regularly across the growing season can take ages.  And knowing me, my enthusiasm for the tedious can wane easily.  

Watering hub

In the main area of the garden each bed is grouped together nicely making it easy to connect the Water Distributor to water all the beds.

Without the irrigation system in my garden, it wouldn’t be the productive and bountiful outlet for both food and pleasure it is each season.  It would become a laborious chore I’d have to force myself to do, sucking the joy right out of it.  I know many who like to water with a wine to help unwind at the end of a day and take time to really be at one with the garden.  And while that is a great way to nourish the garden and soul, with a garden my size I’d need more than a glass and can’t condone excessive consumption of wine on a daily basis! 

Blocked dripper

Drippers get blocked – it’s just what happens. But it is easy enough to fix.

This makes my irrigation system all the more perfect.  I can set it, forget it, and then sit with a glass of wine and watch the watering taking care of itself.  Although as a system with working parts it isn’t completely maintenance free and now – at the start of the growing season – before the plants are even planted, I check everything is working as it should.  

Cleaning drippers

Being able to remove the top of the dripper makes cleaning it really easy.

The Neta drippers can get blocked and clogged over winter so attaching the hose to each bed is a great place to start.  I make sure all the drippers are flowing evenly and sometimes I strike it lucky and every single one is sending out a lovely even sprinkle.  But more often than not, something is blocked due to the rigours of the winter season.  It doesn’t take much to sort it out – a quick once over with a nail brush frees a blocked jet, or for the stubborn blockages the top can be completely unscrewed and given a good scrub inside and out.

Clearing a blockage

If the blockage is in the line, not in the dripper, forcing the water out one dripper soon clears it out.

Occasionally there is that one dripper that just won’t flow at all.  It is usually one of the ones at the end of the line where all the debris ends up clogging the pipes at the outer reaches.  This is easy enough to fix by turning all the other drippers to off and taking the top off the problem one, forcing all the water out the one dripper.  I may or may not have been shot in the face more than once as I peer over the dripper to see if the blockage is being dislodged.

Even dripper spray pattern

It doesn’t take too long to get a good even dripper spray pattern that will soak into every corner of the garden bed.

Once that is done, I give the whole system a once over, looking for leaks or wear and tear that can lead to leaks in the future and use a few of the spare parts I have on hand to make any on the spot repairs.  Then I check the battery on the water computer, and I’m done.  The irrigation system is good to go, and the plants can go in.

Trench digging

Who would have thought a bit of trench digging would make a great birthday gift!

Most of the garden is divided into groups of 6 and in the main part of the garden there are hubs so I can water 6 beds at once with the help of my Gardena 6 hose Water Distributor and my Gardena Water Control Master connected to the tap.   However, I never got around to completely connecting all of the sectors in my garden to central hubs, meaning that, while the beds had irrigation in them, they needed to be individually watered with a hose – and the timer on my phone.   

Neta irrigation supplies

The Neta components of the irrigation system are really easy to put together.

With our sandy soil it is best to dig trenches when the sand is wet all the way through, to stop it collapsing on itself making it hard to work on connecting the pipes in the bottom of the trench.  So, when I first built the garden, after connecting up the first three systems – the season changed, and the sand dried out, so I put ‘finish irrigation’ on the list for the next damp season and that is where is stayed for several seasons…  until now.

Irrigation hub

Now all the beds terminate at this one central spot making it easy for the 6 hose water distributor to connect. Once we can get out and about again I’ll get a nice hub box to keep them in.

This weekend as a birthday wish, I asked if Hubby the Un-Gardener and the Teen Lads could dig me some trenches so I could connect up sector 5 for the pumpkins and the berries.  These poor plants had suffered enough.   Not only were they at the whim of my inconsistent hand watering, but were buffeted about by the wind, as the protection from wind break at the front of the garden didn’t reach that far.  So, with a new windbreak and computer controlled watering, this far end of the garden won’t know itself.   I’m hoping for great things, delicious berries, and enormous pumpkins. 

Come again soon – to find out more about the great planting out weekend.

Sarah the Gardener : o)

 

NB:  You can find out more about my overall watering system by checking out a previous blog post >Waterwise<  and to find out more about cool tools for  Clever Watering check out:  GARDENA Water Computer MasterControl  and Water Distributor Automatic

Jasper the Dog

Jasper the Dog may or may not have been helpful with the trench digging.

5 Comments on “Sorting out the watering

  1. Happy birthday, Sarah! Delicious berries and enormous pumpkins sound good to me, too. I’m glad you have a good watering system in place. Side note: Jasper, you are a love.

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  2. Sarah, automation is a wonderful thing but I have learned that it isn’t without maintenance. I’ve started a project in my bigger garden that will hopefully end in watering automation. It’s a vacant lot that’s 20 minutes away from me so some times life keeps me from being there on a daily basis. There’s no city water or electricity available but there happens to be a natural spring on the property. Last year I started building a water tower with two IBC tanks that are elevated six feet above ground. Each are 250 gallons which will give me a total of 500 gallons of water storage. My plan is to develop the spring into a source of water that can be pumped into the tanks which will be used to water the garden through timed gravity fed systems. I have just as much excitement and desire about garden building projects as I do about growing plants in the garden. It keeps me busy in the off season.

    Have a great garden irrigation building day.

    Nebraska Dave

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    • Wow that sounds really exciting. I think sometimes it is great to have a project you can really sink your teeth into and lifts life out of the state of ordinary. All the best with it. : o)

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