This growing season we've put a lot of time and energy into automating the watering systems in our organic garden and passive solar greenhouse. The irrigation system in the garden was partially installed last year, but was not hooked into an irrigation controller. Until this past month all of the watering in the community garden and greenhouse had to be done by hand; in our desert climate this was a project that required several hours of devotion everyday.
Garden Irrigation Systems
We recently installed a series of sprinkler valves to control the flow of water to eight different watering zones in the garden. Each of the garden beds is connected to the water system by 1/2" PVC, which also surrounds each of the beds and supports strategically positioned sprinkler heads. The irrigation controller is programmed to activate watering in each of the zones according to schedule. Now the watering in the garden pretty much takes care of itself and we just have to hand water in our newest beds that have yet to be equipped with irrigation sprinklers.
Our garden irrigation system is solar powered and also works fine with our well water which is delivered at low pressure. We did install an old hot water heater as a pressure tank to help pressurize the system, though. The water is pumped from the holding tank into the pressure tank by two 12 volt pressure pumps that have been ganged together to deliver 5 gallons per minute. This set up gives the irrigation system adequate pressure for watering each of the eight zones consecutively.
Click here for info on our current solar power system.
Drip Irrigation in the Greenhouse
The herbs and plants in our greenhouse got a slow start this year, but we think that it may have been a result of inadequate watering. We installed a drip irrigation system in the greenhouse a few weeks ago and the greenhouse space has really lushed up. The 1/2" drip irrigation lines are hooked to a battery operated digital timer which automates the delivery of water. We've found that with our current drip irrigation system the greenhouse needs 3 hours of watering every other day.
With our new garden sprinkler system installed and drip irrigation in the greenhouse our gardening time can now be devoted to other projects. Instead of spending hours each day watering, we are focused on other gardening projects, like making trellises for the tomatoes, preparing compost as an organic fertilizer, and starting more seedlings.
Irrigation Valves Installed
12 Volt Irrigation Pumps
Organic Gardening Projects
To read more about this spring's organic gardening projects, click here.
For information on our greenhouse and our recent passive solar modifications, click here.
To see our garden photos, click here.