Row by Row Episode 20: The Basics of Vegetable Garden Irrigation

Improving Your Irrigation in the Garden

On this week’s episode, the guys discuss the best solutions for vegetable garden irrigation. They discuss which crops are more suitable for overhead irrigation or hand-watering. These would include very short-term crops like potatoes, mustard, or mixed greens. They have such a short maturity date, it’s really not worth the time to install drip irrigation on these crops. With longer maturing crops, they recommend using drip irrigation for many reasons. Using drip tape for garden irrigation saves time from having to move sprinklers around the garden and it also uses less water because the water is applied directly to the plant roots. Drip irrigation will also reduce weed pressure and plant diseases by limiting leaf moisture. Greg states that drip tape was designed to either go sub-surface or underneath the plastic mulch. That is the most effective way because it will not move around on you as it does laying on top of the soil. Our drip tape comes with emitters every 12 inches apart which allows water output for .4 gallons a minute per 100 feet. Using drip irrigation you are not wasting any water and all that water is going directly where the plant needs it. They answer some frequently asked questions about run time and using it with a gravity-fed system, lifespan, and removal.

Show and Tell Segment

On the show and tell segment this week, the guys provide an update of the demonstration garden at the Hoss Tools Sustainable Living Center as part of the Sunbelt Ag Expo. Greg mentions that things are growing well despite some heavy whitefly pressure. They have a good stand of Ambrosia sweet corn growing and it will need hilling soon. They applied drip tape irrigation which has been great in these drought temperatures we have been experiencing. Travis mentioned that he recently planted a mixed greens variety that has Tatsoi, Mizuna, Red Russian Kale, and Arugula. He also mentions that his jambalaya okra is producing very well and he’s been using a new technique called the “prune and whoop” which has been effective. The tool of the week is Rabbit and Squirrel Repellant this is the best product for keeping small rodents from eating your Brussel sprouts and cauliflower plants. It works best to apply early on in the garden and don’t use close to harvesting time. The second tool of the week is we now offer a 1-pound package of Broadleaf Mustard. Cover crops are great for the garden because they break down into the soil and apply nutrients that the soil needs. Another advantage cover crops have is they keep nematode pressure to a minimum in the garden. These cover crops can be planted with a seeder or broadcaster in the garden.

Viewer Questions Segment

On the question and answer segment, the guys answer a question about planting cover crops. Greg mentions that cover crops will need a light layer of soil on top of them to germinate. If you have any kind of small seed you should plant it very shallow in the soil, but with full soil contact. So after broadcasting on top of the soil, a light raking is needed to cover the seeds for germination. Greg recommends planting these seeds at least a half inch in the soil. He mentions that a disk behind a tractor would bury the seeds too deep, but that the Disk Harrow attachment for the Hoss Wheel Hoe is a great way to cover those seeds in the vegetable garden.

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