Posts Tagged ‘drip watering’

Get out the Solar Oven and let’s have enchiladas for lunch.

Enchiladas for lunch.

Now that the sun has warmed up the soil enough to plant, we’ve got to hook up the Solar Roller. These panels are mounted on a 2 x 4″

Solar panels on handmade wheeled cart

cart with some old lawnmower wheels attached. Since I have many trees shading parts of the garden, this roller allows me to follow the sun. I can actually get 12 hours of sun-pumping water into the large tank in the background and then gravity flow to 1/2″ pvc placed in the raised beds. The kit came with solar panels, submersible pump, and a Dankoff control box. This control box allows the pump to kick on in low light and works so well that it’ll pump on a gray shadowless day. I’ve even seen it pump during a light rain.

Gray shadowless day, solar pump still working…thank you Mr. Dankoff, for inventing the controller that makes the pump work on a very gray day!

The tank feeds into a regular garden hose and into the water grids. The grids are drilled with 1/16” holes. Hook up the hose to the grid and plant next to the holes.

Drip water grid in tomato bed

Drip watering potatoes

Placing the plants next to a pre-drilled hole.

Ready to close the tent on the warm loving eggplant and peppers

And that’s how we spent Mother’s Day, how about you?

For more solar check out my little solar system.

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Growing tomatoes on the Oregon Coast calls for special measures. This clear 6 mil UV resistant film ‘tent’ shields the soil from the drenching rainfalls of April and May. To get ripe tomatoes by early August we must often plant in inclement weather.

Beating the late blight is the name of the game in a cool climate. We don’t use fungicides so since the mid to late 90’s we follow some strict rules…NO overhead watering, drip watering only. Trim lower branches a so no leaves touch the ground. Do not follow tomatoes with potatoes or vice-versa for at least one year (two years are better).

After gardening in the same location for over 35 years, we always add amenities to enhance the soil…cottonseed meal, kelp meal, bone meal, blood meal, dolomite, gypsum. This is in addition to trenching in deciduous leaves, crab shell, and coffee grounds in the fall.

The water grid is 1/2″ pvc with 1/8″ holes drilled in the proper spacing for tomatoes. It can be gravity fed from the tank that is powered by solar, delivering the water directly to the roots.

The tires are centered over the holes to add extra warmth into the evening.

Pinch off lower leaves, add a bit of fish meal, place in ground with lots of compost and plant deep.

Next add the hoops…these are 3/4″ pvc that fit loosely into 1 1/4″ pvc sockets. These hoops are strong and last for years (Schedule 40) Strengthen them with rope and 1×2’s.

Use a taut-line hitch to take up slack when rope stretches.

This is 6 mil, UV resistant film. 2x2x8’s are butted up to each other and 1×2’s are nailed to hold them together. Then the film is nailed to them using more 1×2’s. That forms the weight to hold the film over the hoops. If you “under roll” the film and tie it to the hoop with a slip knot it will stay up all day. At night or during a rain, we always close the tents to keep water off the leaves. Tomatoes need air circulation, so it’s important to open the tents whenever possible.Tent is closed protecting the plants from the cool night air. Since we like to eat tomatoes in the winter, we plant about 60 plants. This is the first tomato bed this season and holds 15 plants. The cages will be added later when after we’ve treated them with bleach water.  Check out the cages here…added a month later.

Preserving the tomatoes.

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It’s always fun for us to uncover the very soggy cardboard and see all the earth worms.  In years past we would rototill, but now because we trench in leaves, crab shell, coffee grounds and sometimes  kitchen garbage in the fall,  our beds are teeming with life.  We don’t want to chop up the worms with a tiller so we do a little spading to loosen the soil and push in the transplants.  Many times the ground is too wet for a tiller, but not for a shovel or fork. l

Our Red Pontiacs from last year were getting soft so we decided to use them as seed potatoes. With the raised beds we can plant earlier and cover up the beds if the weather report warns for freezing.  We can also net to keep out the deer or in this case, the cats.  Check out the progress on these beds.

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This bed has crab shell and coffee grounds. Both are waste products that I picked up last summer using my bicycle and trailer. Also buried within are autumn leaves.
Last weekend we covered the bed with a plastic tent over pvc hoops to dry out the soil.
Today a 3 hour break in the storm served as our chance to get this first bed planted.
The cabbage, collards, and lettuce were started from seed in the house under lights in late February. The soil was full of earthworms and just right to add amenities, rake smooth, hook up the water grid, and pop in the transplants. (no rototilling because we’re trying to avoid using fossil fuel in the garden)

A floating row cover will be placed over the cabbages to protect them from the cabbage moth and cabbage fly, then netting to keep out the deer, followed by the plastic film tent to protect them from the high winds and driving rain from the next set of storms. March came in like a lamb and is going out like a lion.


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