Working to equip West Virginia small farm families with the information and education required to make them both sustainable and successful.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
High Tunnel and Drip Irrigation
The team started the day by checking out, picking, (and tasting!) our sugar snap peas, as they were ready to be harvested. The team's main agenda for the day was to plant the full five rows of the high tunnel, including the work of setting up the drip, or micro-irrigation, system. We had measured the drip tape (pictured to the right) and brought plastic mulch for covering.
We first began by mounding the soil into five raised beds. As many of you know, the mound allows the soil to heat more quickly for the plants. We then laid the drip tape in the center of the rows. The white plastic was placed over the top of the beds with soil covering its edges. Another purpose of the plastic mulch is to prevent evaporation of soil moisture and to prevent weed growth, as last year the nutgrass was debilitating. Plastic is the only control.
Carrie then went through and punched holes for the plants. The rows of peppers contained three varieties, Chocolate beauty, Blushing beauty, and Lady Bell. We spaced them in an alternating pattern and watered them as we went.
Next, we planted a double row of cherry tomatoes, Evie 2 strawberries, Roma tomatoes, and Hungarian hot wax peppers. The distance between peppers was to prevent cross pollination and placement of the tomatoes was done to increase air flow.
The drip irrigation system is now ready to be attached to the header running across the end of the tunnel. The system will allow a slow flow of water to reach our plants only in the places we want. This helps reduce weeds, and saves water.
More information on our value added projects, high tunnel fertilization, and weed control to come! Thanks for reading along!