The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Introduction to a farm irrigation system

Sprinkling the gardenOur part of the central Appalachian mountains is nearly a temperate rainforest, with about 40 inches of rainfall scattered evenly throughout the average year.  Unfortunately, our first two years on the farm coincided with drought conditions, and I saw firsthand what happens when plants don't get enough water --- they just stop growing.  Berries are especially sensitive to lack of water, with experts recommending that they get at least an inch of water per week.  That's an inch as measured in a rain gauge, which should penetrate to about 6 to 12 inches into your soil.

The drought prompted us to start experimenting with the most cost and time effective way to get water to our plants. 
This week's lunchtime series runs through our attempts at irrigation --- both the failures and the successes.  Our situation is a bit unique, so you should consider your own conditions before putting our suggestions into practice.  Specifically, we are lucky to have copious water available even during the worst droughts since we have a creek which runs along the edge of our property --- no need to pay through the nose for city water and carefully preserve every drop.  On the other hand, the slight turbidity (muddiness) of our creek water makes some irrigation systems fail which would work well for city-dwellers.  I'd be very curious to hear how my experiences have differed from yours if you've also embarked on the irrigation journey.

This post is part of our Irrigation lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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We have a system that pulls water out of a creek. We are having issues with the mechanism in the creek. How does yours work? Just looking for some options to the finicky system we have now.
Comment by Sandi Sun Jun 2 16:55:59 2013
Sandi --- We've had our own trial and error with pumping water out of a creek. I'd send you to one post, but we haven't summed it up. Instead, try putting "creek pump" in the search box in the sidebar and reading the top ten posts or so that come up. Then you'll know everything we do!
Comment by anna Mon Jun 3 12:48:39 2013

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