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Gardening in the Texas Hill Country

We decided on a non-pressurized irrigation system, primarily because of the distance
from the garden to our potable pressurized water system, and there was a concern about possible contamination to it.
                                                                     ó  Bernadell, HCMG

  Gravity-fed Water System

Bernadell's Gravity-Fed Watering System for the Raised Beds

  Shade cloth was added to approximately two thirds of the raised-bed garden this past summer. Why only two thirds you ask? I mistakenly purchased 75% UV blockage instead of the 50% UV blockage and was worried that the plants would not get enough of the sunís rays. So I thought I would do an experiment to see what difference the shaded vs non-shaded cloth would make on the plants. I left the shading off of the okra, Anaheim peppers and asparagus sections. I knew okra and Anaheim peppers loved the sun, but was not quite sure of the asparagus. The okra and peppers did great, but we had a lot or rain this summer. The jury is still out on the asparagus since it is a biennial plant.

   With the shade cloth up, it was time to start on the irrigation system. We decided on a non-pressurized irrigation system, primarily because of the distance the garden is from our potable pressurized water system and a concern about possible contamination to it. As it turns out, there is a lot of information on pressurized irrigation systems, but very little information on non-pressurized / gravity fed irrigation systems. We still opted for the gravity fed system (trying to keep things simple). A 1,500 gallon black poly water tank was purchased and will be tied into the existing collection system. Stu is currently in the process of building the tank pad (above, right), which will have a sand base for the tank.

   The water going into the tank will have one filtering but will not be potable. The two side beds will have one irrigation tube and the center bed will have two irrigation tubes, and there will be shut off valves on each of the tubes for individual controls. When we tested the irrigation tubes with water fed via a garden hose out of the big tank, we discovered that the beds were not getting equal amounts of water. (Due to the natural terrain, the beds are sloping down and to the left.) The goal is to have timers on the irrigation lines, but we will have to see if there is enough pressure coming out of the tank to kick on the timer and feed water through the irrigation lines.

We will keep you updated on our progress.



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