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Re: Garden Paths & Irrigation

  • Subject: Re: [cg] Garden Paths & Irrigation
  • From: "Jim Call" jimcall@casagarden.com
  • Date: Sun, 2 Mar 2003 20:14:28 -0600

In my opinion, the best and most efficient way to water your garden is drip irrigation.  It is more expensive and more labor intensive to lay out the individual rows/plants.  It would help if your garden is set up on a computerized or electronic controller to take the guess work out of watering.  In our garden, we have a computerized overhead sprinkler system.  When in operation, it comes on around 5 AM.  We ran it every morning last year for a light watering because our soil was compacted.  Our water bill is reduced because we have an irrigation rate and not set up as a household type water user (sewage/water). There are many gardeners who will advocate how bad it is to use overhead irrigation.  I say "use what you can afford".  If its overhead, so be it, after all, our good earth has been doing great for millions of years by something called "rain".   
On garden paths, make sure they are 5 ft wide (main traffic paths). Currently our paths are composed of a small limestone gravel.  Some folks call it "crush and run", some call it 'pug mix", I call it crushed gravel. When compacted, wheelchairs have no problems rolling over it.  It's not aesthetic (see this page...  http://www.casagarden.com/plantday_02.html) and I was concerned about the heat they would create during mid-summer, so we covered them with wood chips (see at...   http://www.casagarden.com/harvest_02.html ).  This was still compacted enough for wheelchairs.  The wood chips are free via a tree service company.  
A word of advice for your volunteers.  Make sure:
They are given regular maintenance tasks to be performed. 
Your garden is harvested on a regular basis.
The volunteers know how to harvest a garden (don't step on vines, how to determine if a vegetable is ready to harvest, etc.)
The volunteers are aware of potential garden pests.
Your volunteers are having fun.
One last note, you mentioned you were expecting several thousand pounds of harvest from your 2.38 acre garden.  You would be
surprised how much a garden can produce.  Having a such a horrible season last year, we harvested about 5200 lbs in
our .4 acre garden.  The previous year, our 1/3 acre garden (old location) harvested over 19,400 lbs (2 season garden).  I have told our Board of Directors that I felt we would harvest at least 10K lbs. this year.  We shall see.
Best of luck with your neighborhood garden.  Sounds exciting. I truly believe in Second Harvest and their efforts to relieve hunger.
Jim Call, CASA Community Garden Volunteer Dir.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, February 28, 2003 3:28 PM
Subject: [cg] Garden Paths & Irrigation

We are getting ready to do our first neighborhood garden.  We are partnering with a local business with rather significant pockets….


In addition they will be providing us with 2.38 acres of land for this purpose and their employees will plant, maintain and harvest the beds.  The land is located next to the business, so the employees can go out and work the garden on breaks, lunch etc.


We are America’s Second Harvest distribution center for eastern WA, northern ID and Montana.  Our role in this garden will be to facilitate its initial development, provide training in gardening and then be the recipient of the produce from all the beds.  We anticipate several thousand pounds.


I have two questions for the list serv.


1)       Given we may be doing several hundred beds, what are best practice options for irrigation?  (Keeping in mind this won’t have a regular staff person designated to run equipment, especially on weekends)

2)       What are the best practice options for garden paths, keeping in mind there may be opportunity for disabled staff (walkers, wheelchairs etc)


We definitely want to do this right the first time as they have let us know they will support us financially in additional gardens depending on the success of this one.  (Yeah, right, no pressure   ;>))


Connie Nelson, Program Manager

Second Harvest Food Bank of the INW

1234 E Front Ave

Spokane, WA   99202

(509) 534-6678, ext. 203

(509) 534-8252 (fax)


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