Garden Party: Water

In light of California’s water problems, I decided to update the garden’s drip system to avoid the accidental lawn I created last year.

August 2014's accidental lawn

August 2014’s accidental lawn

The plan was simple enough: replace any drip hoses with drip nozzles targeting large plants like squash, peppers and cucumbers. Actually that is all of them. Had I known what a torment drip system work can be, I would have been in less of a hurry shopping for the new nozzles. Who knew that wrestling those little heads out of the old hoses and shoving new ones in would leave my hands mushy with fatigue and my fingers raw with sundry scrapes?

“Oh, yeah, those little devils are tough. That’s why I use pliers,” Dad said later. I really should ask more questions.

Anyway, because I was in a hurry to get this easy-peasy job done, I bought twice as many of the wrong nozzles as the right ones. I did not discover this until I had put my new system together, all with the wrong ones. The “right” ones had the word “inline” in the name, the wrong ones did not. That really should have clued me in, but I was in a hurry and they look an awful lot alike.

L: inline drip nozzles (right ones) R: NOT inline drip nozzles (wrong ones)

L: inline drip nozzle (right one) R: NOT inline drip nozzle (wrong one)

The key is that the inline ones drip from somewhere in that disc, while the wrong ones only drip through the end of the nozzle. In theory, you could use the wrong ones to splice hoses together, but no water will come out of the juncture as it should in an aptly-named drip system. By the time I was done switching them out, I was drenched. It is easier to see what is working and what isn’t when the water is running. But you tend to get wet. Anyway, I got it all set up, minus two nozzles since I did not have enough of the right ones. In some cases I was able to use the “wrong ones” anyway, as on the cucumbers, where they were attached at the end of the line.

Messy drip hose at work on the beets.

Messy drip hose at work on the beets.

I left the drip hoses (hoses with little holes poked in them so it leaks all along the hose length) in place for the carrots, lettuce, onions, beets and flowers. Of those, the only ones that would be better off with nozzles would be the flowers, but as flowers are not the point of this garden, they are lucky to have their own hose at all. They would not have had one, except that the peppers had an extra hose that needed to go somewhere. You see where the little hose is attached to a bigger hose in the above photo? Once a hole is punched in that bigger hose, it is difficult (at least with my plumbing skills) to plug the hole back up with anything but a little hose. Hence the idea of an “extra” hose.

Hard-working runt.

Hard-working runt, my kind of plant.

It is that time of year, when the prices on the plant starts begin dropping as the plants start to wilt on the shelf and outgrow their little pots. I felt sorry for them last time I was at the feed store, so I bought a companion for the lemon cucumber and a replacement for the lost bell pepper. I really didn’t need the pepper but it was a two for one thing.

I selected the smallest cucumber on the shelf. Really, all the others were twice as big, but this little fellow had more blooms than the others. It struck me as a cucumber with character.

New cucumber on the right.

New cucumber on the left.

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