Farm Notes: Irrigation Systems

It has been a hot, dry month but hopefully we will be benefiting from yesterdays rain to see some real growth in the next couple of weeks. Several people asked me how we had been dealing with the lack of rain and so I wanted to take a moment to share some background on our irrigation system.

Irrigation is a huge part of any vegetable operation and often a challenge when dealing with water sources, pressure issues and our old friend gravity. Luckily, Common Ground Farm has a good underground well system that brings water to the field via a large electric pump. There are two spigots in the field that we can attach "mainlines" on to, and from there run either our overhead sprinkler systems or a low pressure drip tape system. Both systems have their advantages and disadvantages so we try match them to the crops they will most benefit.

Erika rolls out the drip mainline

The tomatoes in the high tunnel and our squash and melons all run on a drip system that delivers water directly to the roots of the plant. That's because these crops are more susceptible to disease when their foliage gets wet. Other crops, like lettuce, kale or chard, don't mind getting wet so we bring over our overhead system whenever they are in need. Because of water pressure and volume issues we can only run one "zone" at a time, meaning one group of crops, and each zone requires several hours of watering to become saturated. And that is why we pray for rain! 

-- Erika Brenner, Assistant Farmer
U-Pick CSA Newsletter, Week #2

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