Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Watering...

Since some people actually read this blog who want to garden better. I'm no expert, but I've learned a lot of lessons about what it takes to garden in Central Florida. All the time people write me and ask why their garden doesn't grow, and more times than not, the root of their problem is proper watering. I wrote a long post about proper watering last year, and it's worthwhile posting again as we move into the very dry and hot and sunny months of April, May and June. Suffice it to say: Ignore what they say about watering up North. Water often, mulch heavily, and additionally hand water seedlings and transplants. Every day. Especially windy, sunny days like our early spring.

Adding... Overhead sprinkling works best. I've tried everything--microsprinklers, soaker hoses, every hose-end attachment made in heaven or hell. Each has some advantage, but their disadvantages outweigh the advantages.

In the end, a super simpler, $3 solution works for me: a tall (four or five feet) standing PVC topped off with a 360-degree sprinkler head, attached to a hose and a timer. The best way I've found to water small gardens like mine. One of these setups will water a space roughly fifteen-by-thirty. I run mine once a day, early morning, for fifteen minutes or so. 

6 comments:

JW Ogden said...

Hi, with our sand soul and hot weather watering seems the biggest problem in Florida (I live in Gainesville) so I am always looking for ways to hold more water. A friend recently told me about Hugelkultur, I have plenty of rotting wood around and so I will try it this spring.

Michael said...

hmmm... reading up on this a bit. the french are always talking about lignan and twigs--this seems to be a related concept. my immediate reaction: we're at (roughly) 30 degrees north of the equator. our climate is SO MUCH HARSHER and we have SO MUCH MORE INSOLATION than germany (frankfurt is at FIFTY degrees latitude). it would be very, very difficult to keep a raised, open bed like this well irrigated, regardless of biomass. it'd be interesting to try it, though. i'd likely lay down a tarp at the bottom of the heap to increase the water retention.

Anonymous said...

Your $3 solution sounds great, but one question....Do you water your tomatoes and cucumbers the same way. I'm concerned about fungus setting in.

Michael said...

cuke season ends mid-may, when they burn out from our sun, heat, and dryness. so long as they get a reasonable amount of sun, overhead watering isn't a problem--if you water them early, the leaves will be dry before noon.

the real key is to get them producing by late march/early april, so you can get a decent harvest without resorting to fungicides, etc. (fungicide is REALLY nasty stuff all around...)

Nicole said...

We put in an overhead sprinkler for our garden, remarkable easy. Only thing is, it doesn't reach but half the garden, so I still have to hand water. Once this growing season is over, I plan on digging trenches (12" to avoid my 7" tiller blade) and connecting two or three more overheads. I think it will cost me like $30 to do it, And I will have a permanent watering solution. I might even put one out of the garden in case I ever expand!!

hendrixgirl3 said...

Very interesting! Do you have a picture of the watering system you describe?