Drip irrigation

Ocala, FL(Zone 9a)

I have decided this year after being in FL for 12 years that I would go for a drip system. i have started in the veggie garden and hope that maybe just maybe I can double my production. Put some things way too close together but hope to be able to thin things out as the crops progress. Any suggestions, past experiences with drip systems in Central FL or elsewhere?

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Taylor Creek, FL(Zone 10a)

I would also add some mulch to help retain your moisture and help choke out weeds. Looks good.

DeLand, FL(Zone 9b)

Hey Tony,

Your backyard gardens remind me so much of mine...

I have used drip irrigation in New Orleans a bit,....but don't truly have enough expertise on the subject to give you a clear answer on the subject.

What I can share with you though,... is that what sugarweed said is foremost. Mulch.

It seems as though I'm seeing old pine needles or straw somehow from the past in your beds and they would need to be thickened up with Summer coming on for sure.

Raised sprinklers do the best job for me, ( without an irrigation system ) and have devised a system that uses basic sprinklers of a sort set on top of poles of rebar ( which also blend in!) at heights suitable to higher above all plants needing to be watered. It creates a natural rain effect that way...........and I move them around to where needed.

Anyway,

Thank you sharing the pictures and we're looking forward to seeing your future progress!

David

Oviedo, FL(Zone 9b)

I garden on a rocky hillside here in MA. a large part of the garden is away from the house and there is not a great depth of soil. Also, other types of oscillating or rotary sprinklers do not cover the area evenly or well in some spots. I have used drip irrigation via soaker hoses for years on this part of my garden. It delivers water slowly, steadily and you can put the hoses around the roots of your larger trees and shrubs. There is almost no runoff but when I do see it, it is easy enough to adjust the position of the hose to prevent it. The part about mulch on the hose is quite good advice since it allows all the water to go right into the ground. You can even make a shallow channel in the soil and lay the hose in it. again this permits better absorption of water directly into the soil. In your sunny area, coverage of the hose is essential because much water in a regular sprinkler is lost to evaporation and never makes it to the plant roots even here in the Northeast. You can hook this up to a timer and can use a split connection to have more than one hose going at once. And you don't have to stand there in the hot, Florida sun to do this. You can time your watering for early morning so as to avoid watering in the heat of the day. I love soaker hoses!
Martha

Clermont, FL(Zone 9a)

Hi Tony,
In my case all my drip irrigation has to be taken out of garden to bring my Kubota in to work soil so I really don't care much for it other than it does save water and delivers it directly to plant roots if you plant in same spot every time. We had overhead and my husb. felt it was too wasteful and considering we are on a well we have to conserve. I use an awful lot of water between ponds, pool and front and backyard gardens. Only 65 feet deep and my pool is 44 thousand gals and when it evaporates some it takes a lot to refil it.

Your garden looks great and I hope for you a great harvest. Nothing like fresh vegies.

Bonnie

Ocala, FL(Zone 9a)

Thank you all for the advice! Bonnie: I considered the drip system for 2 years now just because of the same issue with the lines having to be removed for tilling. I till my vegetable garden no more than 2 times a year and have done so for 12 years now. I decided to try to cut down on the overhead spraying a bit this year due to having terrible problem with snails eating a lot of tender transplant and seedlings both in the rows and the adjacent areas around the garden. The vegetable garden is pinched between 20' high row of red tips...neighbors hedges :(.... on the west side and a 30 ft golden rain tree on the east . Nice breezes from the Gulf side have a tendency to be blocked at the ground level right when the garden would need them to dry out it seems. Right now the mainline is only about 50ft long and all the drip lines are around 15ft each so I don't think it will be too much to drag it all out of the way when time comes to till it. I figured why not give it a try. When it's into that drought mode around here I hope the drips lines will make a positive difference. I can already tell that the system is extremely effective when transplanting seedlings into the beds as all of the crops I have transplanted so far are doing great and growing very quickly! To Gardenmart: here at my place it is kind of rule of thumb to try to limit overhead watering whenever possible after morning hours due to evaporation when the sun is blazing, which is when we need it most. To David: yes indeed straw is placed every year around this time, we have a pretty dense patch of slash pines nearby where I usually collect enough to cover the vegetable. I recently tilled in a bunch of Black Cow and formed the beds before laying down the drip. I have been letting my back recover from all that stooping this week and have concentrated on potting up transplants and doing potting bench stuff. There is a great vegetable forum on DG, but for me...we have so many diversified issues with planting times and seasons, diseases, pests that are unique here in our tropical paradise that I've found most non-Florida specific garden information available in general useless. It's taken me 12 years to even figure out the best varieties and planting times for my area. Thank you all for the advice and for sharing your knowledge..!

Clermont, FL(Zone 9a)

Sounds like you have it figured out very well. Heck, nothing ventured nothing gained. For all the work we put into our gardens we deserve good yields which is what I am hoping for you.

I use black cow fertilizer from our black angus cows. LOL Works great for flowers and shrubs also.

Tony you are only about 60 mins. away from me. If you have the time come on down to our Roundup and share your expertise and learn from others. We always have a good time of learning and sharing. Next Sat. 10AM start.

Bonnie

DeLand, FL(Zone 9b)

Tony,

I forgot to say that your Garden Art/ light-catcher/ ornament sculpture thing is really interesting and fun! Did you make the reflectors and I was wondering if it has the dual purpose of keeping birds or squirrels away?

My veggies from seeds are just going in the ground. I am also incorporating lots more veggies into the front ornamental garden beds this year...Hoping for a good season with more rain...Keep up the good works!

David

Ocala, FL(Zone 9a)

David,
That Garden art was created by my wife in an attempt to scare away crows which were having fun with my corn seedlings. At this point I have practically given up with trying to keep squirrels away. My cats have fun trying to catch them anyway. Those reflectors are actually the back portions of badges from a Badge-a-Minute kit. We have a gross of them in our garage left over from our scout leader days 30 years ago. Some of them are painted or have Mylar type stickers on them. I believe it has helped a lot because the corn seedlings have not been disturbed lately. They have gotten to be about 8" now....So sorry it took me so long to answer. I'll have to get new pics of the area this weekend as I have been trying to stuff the entire garden with transplants this week. Everything seem to be doing very well growth wise...still hoping for a week of rain though. My floral gardens and potted plants are really needing a lot of attention now...Making "pie in the sky" plans to run a few supply lines around the entire house and set up drips to everything possible! Have a great weekend!

Tony

Ocala, FL(Zone 9a)

Here are pics of the same area 2 weeks later. I couldn't have asked for better than this so far. The tomatoes are screaming to get tied up. Turning into quite the jungle

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Tampa, FL(Zone 9b)

Tony,

Your garden is coming along quite nicely! Think about how great all those veggies are going to taste and the satisfaction of knowing YOU grew them!

Shauna

Clermont, FL(Zone 9a)

Look great and those tomatoes look like they are doing really well.

I am going to try AGAIN to get some good tomatoes. I only have luck with the little ones. They are better than nothing in salads.

Congrats Tony

DeLand, FL(Zone 9b)

Its good to see things are growing your way Tony!

Ocala, FL(Zone 9a)

I wanted to update a pic from where I installed the drip to the veggie garden...These are Mortgage lifter reds and yellows from seed now over 6 feet high. Along with them there is a plum variety called Casidy's Folly from Baker Creek

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DeLand, FL(Zone 9b)

Those are some dang' nice Tomato plants Tony!

Jacksonville, FL

Hey Tony,

Those are beautiful tomato plants and it sure is nice to see another gardener growing tomatoes from seed. We can grow fifty or more plants from one pack of seed for the price of one plant from the nurseries and box stores so that's the way DW and I go. We also save our heirloom tomato seeds, the Brandywines and Black Krim, etc. We use soaker hoses in raised beds rather than the drip lines.

Charlie

Ocala, FL(Zone 9a)

Thanks Chrlie, I try to grow most vegs from seed. I have been getting them from Baker Creek, Peaceful Valley, or Pinetree for the past few years. Tomatoes for me have been mostly a 1 harvest crop for the past 5 years or so. Seems like they get a nice size and all but they fail to continue producing. Usually it gets too hot, too quick during the evenings for them to flower at least here in Ocala. But I am extremely pleased that the drip system works really well especially from 12 to 4 pm or so while the sun blasts them. Here is a pic from today of a patch of Cherokee Wax beans and yellow squash that I am using the drip on. This was taken probably a 2 pm or so. I didn't even want to stand in the sun to take the picture! Without the drip they used to be wilted looking more often than not. We have already harvested 2 plastic shopping bags full of beans from that patch.

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Jacksonville, FL

Tony,
You're farther south and hotter than we are here so we can usually get plenty of tomatoes IF we can keep the woodpeckers away from them. I think if I were you, I'd be planting them earlier and putting posts around the bed; that way if the cold threatened I'd sling a protective cover over them. One really hot year in Austin, TX we slung an old tennis net over the garden to give it afternoon shade. The only beans we have out now are the green noodle beans and they're not producing yet, planning to plant a couple of different kinds later on. The yellow squash, zucchini, and cushaws are going gungho and DW is so happy with the next door neighbors new hive of bees to pollinate everything.

We get seeds from Pinetree, Baker's Creek, Johnny's and Crossmans and have been quite pleased. DW saves heirlooms and is always on the lookout for different ones. I enjoy planting our seeds and watching them grow into something we can put on the table. Much more satisfying to us than grabbing a big plant from the box store that's already blooming, half the time they're mislabeled and you never know what they've been treated with. BTW, we start our seeds from Dec. thru April and grow them under lights til they're big enough to grow out.

Charlie

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