Saturday, March 13, 2010

Adding Grids and a Drip System.

It's almost time to start planting in the square foot gardens!  Our average last frost is March 16th.  I plan to plant outside on Saturday the 20th and I have materials to construct green houses over the gardens.

In order to get ready for this big event, we need to do two things - 1.  add square foot grids and 2. add a drip irrigation system.

I looked at different materials to form the grids.  I was planning to use wood lattice, but after pricing it out I decided to use laundry line instead.  It was much less expensive and it doesn't take up as much surface area as the lattice.

I simply used a staple gun to attach the lattice to each side of the wood frame.  The laundry line is nice and bright and is not supposed to sag with sun or water.  If it doesn't work, I can always replace it with something else next year.

Here's what one of the boxes looked like after being gridded out.  The squares aren't perfect, but they're close enough.

Here are two of the gardens.  Notice the trellis behind the closest garden.  I'm going to string my tomatoes into that.   It is simply two long fence posts, hammered into the ground with fencing attached.  I'm also going to install another trellis behind two of the other gardens to grow other vining plants vertically.

After installing the grids, it was time to install the drip irrigation system.  In Mel's book, he suggests that you water by hand.  It gets you out into the garden, as a result, you end up being more aware of pests and other issues early.  I agree with Mel.  Unfortunately, however, I live in Texas.  It's hot in Texas.  The soil dries out really, really fast in the summer time.  One of the problems we've had with gardening in the past, is that due to work, a weekend away or just a busy schedule, we might miss one or two days of watering.  If you do that in Texas, all your hard work will be for naught because your plants with wither and die.  We have a drip irrigation installed in our corner flower garden and so I decided to extend it to the square foot gardens.

Initially, the lead line to the garden was 1/4" (like what is leading to each of the individual drip heads) but that wasn't enough to carry sufficient water so I replaced the lead line with the 1/2" tubing and then 1/4" tubing leads out to only 4 heads.  Each of the individual heads have an adjustable spray diameter and can be turned off individually.

My source for drip irrigation supplies is  Their stuff is SIGNIFICANTLY less expensive (in some cases more than 75% less) than what you'd pay in a big box store.  I've found their order processing to be extremely fast (one recent order was placed on Wednesday afternoon and I received it on Saturday via normal US Mail shipped from North Carolina to Texas).

Here's what one of the drip irrigation systems looks like installed and functioning.

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