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Designing Drip Irrigation

June 4, 2012

Watering the garden has been a pain-in-the-behind the past few weeks, and some of the plants are suffering for it. We are working on installing drip irrigation for the site, the goal being to put it in soon so that we can cover it with leaf mold mulch. We will begin putting this in place in a few weeks and will need as many volunteers as we can get to help lay out the irrigation system and to transport mulch.

Drip Irrigation Diagram by Karryn Olson-Ramanujan

Leaf mold, which we plan to use as mulch, is simply leaves that have been allowed to decompose into rich, dark humus. Fungal action is encouraged by keeping leaves moist and speeds the decomposition process. It is rich in carbon and will help to build up the topsoil at our site.

Drip irrigation, at least in our case, means laying a hose that has holes spaced out along its length over the beds but underneath the mulch, criss-crossing so that all plants get water. The localized application saves water by bringing it right to the plants that need it, and decreases evaporation.

While the irrigation system will hook up to a hose just across the path this year, we hope that in the future we can collect rainwater off the metal roof of Phillips Hall.

We like this design because it is in harmony with our permaculture goals for the site. We seek to use resources in efficient and renewable ways. Drip irrigation is a way to demonstrate a lesser-known irrigation technique to the wider Ithaca College community. For students, there are many opportunities in this project to learn about water conservation. Drip irrigation also provides an example for those who have gardens or hope to have gardens someday, so that we can see what is possible.

One Comment leave one →
  1. John Graves permalink
    August 19, 2012 6:47 pm

    I would like to know if your group has considered using bio char as a soil amendment in the IC Permaculture garden ?

    There is a homemade techneque for making bio char in small quantities.

    John Graves

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