My Sustainable Agriculture class had a great visit to Rowland’s Row Farm in Gold Hill, NC. Joe and Dani are good people and great farmers, growing 40 different vegetables on their farm. Their daughter Ella is a good helper, too! We brought a little rain to the farm, but as dry as it’s been, nobody minded getting a little wet.
This week’s tip
When it’s this hot, plants need water more than ever. It’s really important to irrigate effectively. So how do you do that? As with so many questions, the answer begins with, “It depends”. In this case it depends on what type of irrigation equipment you’re using. Most of us use overhead irrigation, what we call “using sprinklers”. It’s an inexpensive way to water if you don’t count the cost of delivering the water. What I mean is, you can buy a sprinkler for as little as $5-$6. These days, you can’t buy a good meal for that. When you add the cost of the water, or the cost of pumping water (which includes the cost of the pump and the power to run it), then the price goes up. Add in the water lost through evaporation, and it’s not quite the bargain you thought. It still may be the most effective way to irrigate if you need a lot of water delivered fast. That’s the real advantage to overhead irrigation. You can put the water down faster than other methods of irrigation.
Most homeowners use oscillating sprinklers. Those use a tube with lots of holes to spray water over a large area. For this to be most effective, you need good water pressure. This allows it to be quite efficient. It covers a rectangular area and can be adjusted. The other type of sprinkler is called an impact sprinkler. This sprinkler is driven by the force, or “impact”, of the water. It can cover a big area if you have plenty of water pressure, and can be adjusted as well. Here and here are some good descriptions.
Generally, sprinklers are used to water heavily but infrequently. This method promotes deeper root growth. The rule of thumb is 1” of water per week. How do you measure that? By measuring it, of course! Use a rain gauge or one of those tuna cans. Set it out inside the area being watered. Water for 30 minutes. Then measure how much water is in the gauge or can. This gives you an idea how much water your sprinkler can deliver. Do you have ½”? Then you are on track to water twice weekly if it doesn’t rain. If you have more or less water in your gauge, then adjust your irrigation schedule accordingly.
By the way, hoses and sprinklers left out in the sun can deliver scalding hot water until fresh water cools the equipment. Be careful!
Next week, I’ll write about drip irrigation. A method that is extremely efficient once you understand how to use it.
Where I’ll be
Monday & Tuesday, June 25-26, 2018
I’ll be in Matthews, NC, working on the farm or at the house. With the hot weather, I get my farm work done early, and spend the afternoons working on my business as opposed to in my business. I’m available for consultations if you’re interested. Contact me here.
Wednesday, June 27, 2018 House In The Horseshoe State Historic Site, Carthage, NC
The “Shoe”, as we affectionately call this beautiful old home, was the site of a battle during the American Revolution and the home of a 19th Century Governor. Our next event is the re-enactment of the 1781 battle. Details and directions here.
Thursday, June 28, 2018 Sustainable Ag 102 600-900PM
Lomax Farm, Atando Road, Concord, NC
Registration is closed for this session, but Sustainable Ag 103 begins July 26. Details here.
Demand for sustainable or organically grown products continues to increase. USDA Certified Organic produce is in short supply at all major grocery stores. Opportunities abound IF you can produce a quality product, grow in sufficient quantities, and know the proper marketing channels. I’ve been teaching farmers to cultivate profit since 1996. Come join us at the Lomax Farm to learn how to grow good food in a certified organic farm. We’re going to be on a working farm, so dress appropriately. That includes dressing for hot, humid weather. Closed toed shoes are required on the farm. This is a hands on class. Be prepared for most of the class to be in the field. Your own water bottle is recommended, as is sunscreen and a hat.
Friday, June 29, 2018 I’m available for home and Farm consultations. Contact me here.
Saturday, June 30, 2018 9AM-12PM, Matthews, NC
This time of year I may be at Renfrow Hardware, working at the Farm, or simply enjoying a coffee at Brakeman’s. Regardless of where I am, you can always stop by and find out more ways to enjoy your garden. Come see me!
How can I help you?
Summer is here, and so are the challenges of heat, humidity, and who knows what with rainfall. That’s where I come in. I’ve designed and installed all kinds of landscapes, from formal herb gardens to Permaculture homesteads. In an hour, I can solve problems, identify plants, show you some opportunities, and help you enjoy your garden even more! If you’re interested in a home landscape consultation, contact me here.
I farmed and operated a plant nursery in NC for 15 years, and was an NC Cooperative Extension agent for 8 years. In that time, I learned a LOT about farm production and farm business management. I can help you with organic certification, transition to organic practices, and marketing your farm and food products. To learn how to cultivate profit on your farm, contact me here.
In these times of great opportunity for small business owners, strategic planning is essential for success. I can help you write a business plan, construct enterprise and cash flow budgets, and do market research. Individual consultations and group trainings are options for getting the information you need to succeed! To take advantage of the opportunities that are available to small business owners, contact me here.
Remember to enjoy your garden, because THAT’S what makes you a Successful Gardener! Hope to see you sometime this week!
Peace, Grace, & Love,