Row by Row Episode 90: Everything You Should Know About Drip Irrigation!

Let’s Talk Drip Irrigation

On this week’s episode, the guys answer some of the most popular frequently asked questions about drip irrigation in the vegetable garden. Although some people are intimidated by drip systems, however, it is rather simple and really a gamechanger in the garden area. The first question they answer is whether or not you can use drip tape irrigation with a gravity-fed system. Travis mentions that you can use drip tape with a gravity-fed system, but it is unfeasible overall. The second most popular question about drip irrigation is should it be buried or laid on top of the soil. Greg says you can really do either, but drip tape was designed to be buried under the soil to prevent it from being harmed by other elements. There are two ways to bury drip irrigation using our wheel hoe either with the plow set attachment or the drip tape layer attachment. Once the drip tape is in the ground, people often wonder how to know where the emitters are located after it’s buried in the area. The best way that Travis determines where the emitters are once it is buried is by turning the irrigation on and around 10 to 15 minutes depending on how dry the soil is, little water spots will develop where the emitters are located. They also mention that you can plant crops in between the emitters along the drip tape irrigation. The next question that is asked often is can you save drip tape and reuse it again in the garden. The guys mention that it can be reused depending on how conservative or frugal you want to be. Travis typically pulls tape up out of the area and then cultivates the area and lays it right back down, he never pulls it completely up and tries to store it. He normally uses the same drip tape four to five times and then replaces it with new tape. Another question the guy’s answer is you can certainly leave the drip tape in the garden over winter because it decompresses when it is not in use so you will never have to worry about it freezing during the winter season. The major difference between 8 mil and 15 mil tape is the 15 mil tape is almost twice as thick as the 8 mil tape. The 8 mil tape is designed for annual vegetables, while the 15 mil tape is better for perennials in the garden. When watering individual rows, you can use the drip tape row start valves which basically allows you to turn off or on individual rows that need irrigation. Another popular question is how long do you let drip irrigation run in the vegetable garden. Which is rather a hard question to answer because it depends on factors such as the climate, weather temperatures, soil type, the crop you are growing, and so much more. Greg mentions that you will get the feel for how wet it is the soil real quick and once plants start growing larger it may take longer to water, however, it all just depends on certain factors. You can also use drip irrigation in a raised bed situation it just may need more what we call tee and elbows for the mainline. When direct seeding in the garden, Greg recommends planting crops directly on top of the drip tape while planting transplants on either side of the emitters. The last question the guy’s answer about drip irrigation is how to avoid hitting it with the wheel hoe. Overall, by burying it and putting it out of the way we can avoid messing it up in the vegetable garden.

Show and Tell Segment

On the show and tell segment, the guys discuss the different types of carrots growing in the vegetable garden. They also discuss potato planting since it has been super wet in the garden. The guys also discuss some okra varieties that have excellent flavor profiles such as Red Burgundy, Star of David, Silver Queen, Cowhorn, Perkins Long Pod, and Clemson Spineless.

Viewer Questions Segment

On the question and answer segment this week, the guys answer questions about growing crops against tradition, controlling tomato spotted wilt virus, warm-weather cover crop, and growing collard greens.

Travis mentions that sometimes they try to push the limits of what crops they grow in certain seasons. However, he never tries to flip the seasons of crops around. Greg says that you can control tomato spotted wilt virus by either planting a virus-resistant tomato variety or treating insects with an insecticide early on in the vegetable garden. Travis recommends planting warm-season cover crops like buckwheat if you tend to have a shorter growing window or if you have a longer window the sorghum sudangrass is perfect. Greg recommends growing the Top Bunch variety because it will outperform all other varieties in the garden.

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