Well that was a waste of time.

Encouraged by comments to re-look at the irrigation but with a smaller hose to increase the pressure, I set about investigating the irrigation bits and bobs that are most commonly available as individual pieces at most hardware stores here.  I went on to the company website to look at my options and found a really cool application where I could load in my garden dimensions.  So I spent ages drawing my garden beds so it looked about the same as it does in real life.

Next it advised me to find out my water pressure – which was surprisingly easy.  All I needed to do was fill up a bucket of a known size.  I managed to find an 8 litre bucket that I hadn’t drilled holes in to use as plant pots and turned the tap on full and then timed how long it took to fill the bucket.  I took the reading from the hose by the garden as that would be my starting point.  It took 27 seconds to fill the bucket, so next time I fill a bucket and it feels like it is taking ages – I will remember that it was only half a minute!  I chucked the number into the calculation on the website and found my water pressure at the end of the hose was 16 litres per minute.  I don’t know if this is good or bad, but the website encouraged me to continue.

The next stage was choosing the water delivery method and each bed had a range of options that were suitable for it and would provide good coverage – as seen by the blue colour the green beds changed to when you got it right.

OK...  I was going to leave you with just one photo but in the preview it looked like too much writing so I decided to give you another picture - here are the zuke chips before being cooked!
OK… I was going to leave you with just one photo but in the preview it looked like too much writing so I decided to give you another picture – here are the zuke chips before being cooked!

The next stage had me dragging hoses across the website in a giant join the dot puzzle – finding the least complicated path.  It also wanted to join like with like, so I could only connect the soaker hose beds to other beds with soaker hoses in them.  There were had dead ends to navigate when a big red warning came up saying I’d run out of water pressure. Once I was pleased with what I had done I clicked the next button and was greeted with a congratulations you’ve done it, now print off the shopping list and away you go…

Luckily most of the hardware stores have online shopping so I raced over to an irrigation bits and bobs supplier to check the prices out.  I was feeling good – excited even.

I began writing the prices in the little boxes on the shopping list and my heart begun to sink.  A lot of the items were reasonable priced as an each – but the numbers required on my list were big. It suggested I needed 49 elbows, nearly a hundred sprayers and drippers, and 230 metres of hose.  All in all it would have cost over five hundred dollars!  I’m supposed to be growing veggies in order to save money!

So with a whole lot of hope and expectation and the better part of an afternoon down the drain. And to rub insult into injury I can’t find the copy of the plan even though I saved it so I can’t show you.  In the only photo I have for you today is….

How I had my zucchini today.

Crispy Zukes - Yummo!
Crispy Zukes – Yummo!

Today I sliced them really thin, coated them in olive oil and baked them long and slow so they went all crispy like chips and they were really yummy!  Even the Joeyosaurus liked them after being made to try them!    I used three so there are still five from yesterday, but picked another two from the garden!  This is going to get ridiculous real quick!

Come again soon –   the irrigation still requires a solution, but in the meantime the strawberries still need harvesting again.  (I made 9 and a half jars of jam yesterday)

Sarah the Gardener  : o )

14 thoughts on “Well that was a waste of time.

  1. Hi Sarah … love your blog! Oh dear that irrigation sounds like a disaster. Have exactly the same problem here, hence I’m often seen on the end of a hose, watering those vege. I’m going to be eating zuccs in everything soon – their unstoppable production is underway! 🙂

    1. Hi Julie. After the last couple of days, irrigation doesn’t seem like such an urgent problem as we have had so much rain, But I still have to figure something out.
      The kids are getting a bit sick of having zukes in every meal but I’ve only be doing it for a week!
      Cheers Sarah : o )

  2. I saw these on Pinterest, are they nice? The kind that I saw had salt and vinigar on them. I reckon you could make some really delicious varieties using some dehydrated veggies ground into powder with sea salt (bbq flavour anyone?). Maybe your wonderful friend might enjoy watering? My mum used to love going out and watering. I don’t like it because I keep thinking about the cost of water but we are saving up for a big water tank to help ease the cost.

    1. Hi Fran. The zuke chips were really yummy – they were sweet and crunchy and worth making again … and again.
      I like the idea of dehydrated veggie powders. I will have to give that a whirl when more veggies come ready.
      We are really blessed that we don’t have to pay for our water. I think a garden this size would be impossible otherwise..
      A tank is a great investment.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

      1. Yeah, I am dead jealous of you guys not having to pay for water. It used to be the same here in Tassie (back when this garden was first established and was full of tree ferns) but when they introduced paying for it my dad let the garden go (read dead tree ferns 🙁 ). There was a complete electrical watering system that was used previously to water the entire property but that fell into disrepair so we pulled it out and are using permaculture principles to try to keep the moisture in the soil. 4 acres is a fair bit of land to try to keep moist especially when it’s on a rocky clay lined silty soiled steep hillside BUT we are ever tenacious and optimistic and permaculture is all about working with what you have and slowly making it better 🙂

    1. HI Marisa. One day we will be both sitting there watching our gardens water themselves… but until then – its all hands to the pump – so to speak.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

  3. 16Lpm wasn’t too bad, I used to be sitting on 10Lpm which is hopeless in powering pulse or oscillating sprinklers. Pulse sprinkler offers the widest coverage for a single unit. So all you need to do is find out how many it takes to cover your entire garden using the one size fits all treatment, everyone gets overhead watering when you are away for a short period of time. Mark the spots out, chances are you can only power one pulse sprinkler at a time, so just go into a cycle system. Spend 1 to 2 hours on each spot and done deal 😉
    Going into smaller hose is counter productive, you need to go into larger hose, yet, your flow rate will be your ultimate limitation.
    A more complicated but elegant method is to run a 19mm backbone through the entire garden. Branch off with T into 13mm with an in-line tap for each bed, and your choice of irrigation for specific beds, like micro-sprinklers/leaky hose/drippers. The number of in-line taps that you can turn on will still be limited by your flow-rate, applies especially for micro-sprinklers. NETA usually tells you the flow-rate for their micro-sprinklers, assuming is a 1Lpm flow-rate sprinkler, then you can power +- 16 micro-sprinklers at one go. However, as leaky hose and drippers run on low pressure, you can probably get away with a all the taps turned on at the same time for the same type of irrigation.
    My garden is way smaller, I only use 13mm backbone. If I am to do it again, 19mm will probably be choiced 😉

    1. Thank you so much Justin. I really appreciate all the effort you went to explaining this to me. It makes more sense than anything else I have read or learnt. I shall really consider your advice when coming up with the next bright idea for the irrigation system. Thanks again,
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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