At my house we eat a lot of tomatoes. We’ve been growing our own for years now and each spring we forget how a few small plants morph into a jungle of leaves and stems in a few short weeks. A downside to growing plants and gardens is the amount of water and time spent watering to get a decent yield.
This year we’ve finally got our watering system figured out. We purchased four rain totes from Dusty Williams and set them up under the deck. From there we have two pumps; one for a solar powered automatic waterer and the other is a remote controlled pump that moves water from the front of the property to the back so we can water the rest of the garden.
We have the tomatoes on a timer and lines running from the totes and up to the plants on the deck above. Each plant gets a dripper head all of its own. No more watering by hand morning and night, the plants get a steady drip, drip, drip of water whenever the timer in the solar powered pump kicks on. The beauty of a timed release of water is the soil remains moist, allowing less water to be used than if it dried out completely. Kind of like a dry sponge will take a lot of water to get it wet as opposed to a damp sponge that will easily soak up any water with which it comes in contact. There is a name for this phenomenon but it escapes me, it’s something like capillarity or capillary action. Feel free to correct me.
This year our tomatoes are ridiculous. We bought nine plants back in May and planted them in a raised bed on our south facing deck. They are now so big they threaten to cover the kitchen window. I highly recommend this automatic watering system. Last year it was a huge job keeping up with the plants’ water needs and this year we are just sitting back and watching them grow.
On Council’s agenda for July 18th is a draft of a new bylaw concerning Water Use and Water Conservation; Bylaw 18-06. I’m sharing our set up to hopefully educate and inspire you to design your own water harvesting and automatic watering system. It really wasn’t too hard; I just had my husband do it.
Jokes aside, the system works and all the parts were easily purchased through Lee Valley. I would love to hear from others about how they’ve designed their watering systems.