Benefits of Drip Tape in the Garden
When choosing between overhead and drip tape irrigation, drip tape outweighs the overhead with many benefits. Drip tape is perfect for efficiently conserving water, reduce disease pressures, and leads to better plant health. This drip irrigation system conserves water because the water pressure is going directly to the plant roots instead of over the whole garden area. Due to the plant roots getting the most water this will provide ideal plant growth conditions. Another benefit is the decrease in weed pressures in the garden. With overhead irrigation, many areas are unnecessarily watered which causes weed germination where it is not needed in the garden. Drip tape also reduces fungal diseases due to fewer moisture conditions being applied to the foliage. All of these advantages allow drip irrigation to be the best system when growing vegetable crops in the garden.
Removing and Reusing Drip Tape
On this week’s episode, Travis explains how to properly remove and reuse drip tape. When removing drip tape from the garden it can be rather simple. The best way to remove tape is to pull the end of the row or the beginning of the row and walk along the row pulling the tape out of the soil. However, there is one step that needs to be done before removing the drip tape off of some of the larger rooted crops like sweet corn. After harvesting sweet corn you should cut the stalks down with a machete while they are still green. If the stalks are still green they will dry up faster and then a few weeks later you can pull the drip tape up from the ground. Then clean that area in the garden and prepare it for the next crop you plan to plant in that spot. Once you properly remove all the tape from the garden area there are a couple of options that you can do with it. He recommends leaving the drip tape connected to the mainline and pull it over the mainline on the other side of the garden. This will cultivate the area and put the drip tape right back down for planting something else in that area. This allows you from not having to disconnect the mainline from the drip tape. However, if you do not plan on planting anything in that area for a while you should disconnect everything and use a goof plug to plug the hole in the mainline. If you are using the drip tape row start valves you can just take the tape off leaving the row start connected and turn the valve off. The row start valve will serve like the goof plugs and stop water from coming out of the mainline. When using the 8 mil drip tape, Travis can usually plant four crops off that before replacing it. If you are not growing year-round in the garden you can reuse the tape in the next growing season. Just make sure to wash out all the fittings and properly remove the soil and grit from the surrounding nut and barb so they will work well next time you use them. If you have a Double Wheel Hoe and the Plow Set attachment you can use the Drip Tape Layer Attachment to make laying drip tape a one person job that is an easy and fast process. Overall, if you are looking to properly remove and reuse drip tape in the garden area it has a lot of effective advantages that will save you time and money that is unlike overhead irrigation systems.