Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Yes, but it's a dry heat

Which is doubly true for our poor little gardens here in Arizona. Water is a precious resource and we do try to use it wisely as possible. I wrote in my last blog about irrigation water and how we receive it.

When we receive our irrigation water my husband has a little pump attached to a very long hose that we use to flood the raised beds as well. There is no way to divert the actual irrigation water into the beds without the pump. It seems to be a pretty efficient way to effectively deep water those beds while taking advantage of this super cheap water source.

I use thick layers of mulch around almost everything I plant and try to plant for shade. Right now in my tomato area I have random sunflowers growing, my rose bed is shaded in the afternoon by some pine trees, my melon and asparagus patch is shaded by a big Arizona Ash tree and the herbs get shade in the afternoon from the side of the house.

Even using mulch and shade the beds get dry. For the past several years we have run continous drip lines from the hose bib there which has worked fairly well. The problems with that unilateral type of watering is that the basically water the whole garden or none at all. Certain types of plants need different water requirements and some, like potatoes, need no water at all after a certain time close to harvest.

Our son, Greg, very cleverly came up with a solution for me. He ran a length of copper pipe around the top of my retaining wall and hooked up individual hose connectors and shut off valves every two feet. With this unique set-up I can run the soakers at very low volume almost continuously to germinate seeds or shut off entire sections of the garden. It has made my watering issues so much easier.

Next time Id like to write a bit about soil along with a simple soil test you can do easily at home.

But for now I am signing off and wishing you Happy Gardening from my sunny Arizona garden.

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