After returning home from my trip, I hit the ground running trying to catch up with life. My gardens are a big priority and you can picture how any gardens will look after two weeks without care and attention. In addition to borders filled with weeds, the grounds were extremely parched. I decided this was the ideal time to assemble my new drip irrigation system. Tedious, labor intensive and somewhat daunting, I spent hours and hours uncoiling 1/2″ tubing and attaching couplings and tees and plugs and 1/4″ tubing, elbows and micro-sprayers. Just learning the language was trouble enough. Mister gardener strolled out to watch me and seeing my water drenched and dirt covered body punching holes and attaching tubing, he suggested, “It might be better if you turned the water off until you’ve punched all the holes.” “I’m testing the system….” I almost hissed in frustration. On a later visit, he suggested, “Don’t you think a soaker hose would be a lot easier?” “No, I really don’t,” I snipped. After 24 hours, the new drip system was finished. It is invisible to the eye and I expect that plants in that area will be much, much happier than their drier neighbors. I was beaming with pride and satisfaction.
Later mister gardener appeared in the kitchen with the most beautiful romaine lettuce I’ve seen in any grocery. “Is this from the garden?”
“Yep. Have you been down to see it since you’ve gotten home?”
“Well, I’ve glanced that way but didn’t get a good look inside,” I answered, stretching the truth a tiny bit. “Is it doing well?”
“Yep,” he answered. “I’m using a soaker hose this year.”
I know that since I’ve been home we have enjoyed the most succulent spinach and the most mouthwatering lettuce, sweet radishes, and tender onions in a variety of salads he has made. So the next morning, I grabbed my camera and walked down to the garden to get a good look. There among the lettuces, the tomatoes, the onions, the cabbage, the potatoes, etc. was the soaker hose that has fed and nourished plants through dry conditions the last two weeks. I saw that the hose was carefully snaked around the vegetables and it was slowly squeezing out tiny beads of water like sweat accross a forehead. The ground wasn’t puddled with moisture. It seemed to be absorbed slowly into the soil around the plants and it is working well. The plants are green, large and healthy. Well, well, well…. little did I realize that the soaker hose is also a very effective form of drip irrigation. There must be a tiny bit more evaporation with mister gardener’s soaker system but it’s a heck of a lot more efficient than the sprinklers we used last summer in every garden. Must I tell him he is right?
Ann Hohenberger, The Garden Club of Gloucester