SMART IR­RI­GA­TION

Central Otago Mirror - - GARDENING -

Plants need wa­ter like we need blood, and my raised vege gar­dens are good for many rea­sons, but they do dry out quickly. I don’t have time to stand hold­ing a hose reg­u­larly so have set up an au­to­matic fer­ti­ga­tion sys­tem.

This al­lows me to put my com­post tea into an old wa­ter fil­ter can­is­ter that I’ve con­nected to the wa­ter­line so that it is dis­trib­uted to my raised gar­dens when wa­ter­ing.

My gar­dens are small and round, so I have a hose cir­cling the edge of the gar­dens and use var­i­ous sprin­kler heads. I have some move­able ones on a stake with a short flex­i­ble hose, which are good, but my favourites are a spi­der of ar­row drip­pers re­cy­cled from an or­chid grower. These are on short lengths of flex­i­ble hoses and poke into the ground be­side the seedling and de­liver wa­ter un­der my mulch, di­rectly to the roots.

Af­ter ex­per­i­ment­ing with var­i­ous ex­pen­sive au­to­matic timers – which needed bat­ter­ies and set­ting up 24 hours be­fore you could use them – which all failed and fi­nally burst with an early frost, I now use a sim­ple cheap timer switch. I sim­ply fill up my com­post tea, switch it on for 15 min­utes, and it switches it­self off. Job done.

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