Brisbane Local Food

Growing local


Well Summer is here. We have felt the brunt of the first storms for the Season, some of us left with a mess to clean up and others with some lovely rain added to their tanks. As we feel the extremes of Summer so do our Flowers, Vegetables, Herbs, Plants and Trees. Whilst some are very good at coping with the stresses of Summer others need help. So it's time to think about how we can help our plants along.

Mulching is important, as is keeping the water up. There are many forms of Plastic Tree Surrounds available that hold water and drip through slowly, also Weep Hoses are another useful investment. You may have some ideas you wish to share with us on water wise gardening. We do have useful info on many Blogs regarding watering, such as Wicking Beds, Dave's Water Reservoirs along with other. If you have a favourite Mulching Material (Please Share). Have a Wonderful Time in the Garden over Summer, don't forget the Hat and Sunscreen.

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Comment by GayleD on December 9, 2016 at 19:28

Big changes for my garden this summer. The pool with its fences that cut the garden in half is no more - it is now a 50,000L water tank with a concrete lid.  Pool fences on their sides attached to garden fence make great supports for vertical gardens. Bale gardens underneath the pots on the fence to catch the drips from watering and build up the soil.

So there's a lot of redesigning and working out how best to use the new space. So hot - need to get more trees/shrubs for shade.

Comment by GayleD on December 9, 2016 at 19:12

Dianne: "So now we have to find someone  who has had a lot of experience in Irrigation (we want them to do the job from start to finish). Does anyone know a person like that???"
I don't know if he does this sort of job but Jim from is the one who did the plumbing for our pool to tank conversion.  He mainly does tank maintenance now but I believe his business started out doing irrigation. 

Comment by Dave Riley on December 6, 2016 at 23:27

The one complication of the Leaky Hose system is that it assumes leveling -- also, in my experience , I wouldn't recommend it for sandy soils.Goes well under mulch. Is portable and relatively easy to move about. Cheap. Readily available.

You'd need a timer system. To switch off irrigation to certain beds is complicated as it tends to be an all-or-nothing system. Very water efficient.

Maybe suits commercial  horticulture rather than the back yard but I'm sure some tweaks would work. I was using it running  water out of a drum as well as generally.Of course you need to fill the drum as the system is driven by gravity.

So running a pump to feed directly into your Leaky system isn't a good fix as the pressure would be too much for the system and you'd be forced to deliver much more water than you intended. You'd also be paying for running hours of electricity. But directly off an elevated water tank: fine.

I stopped using it (a) because of my sandy soils and (b) because I'd forget to routinize the turning on and off --such that I thought it was wasteful of water. With clay pots I get to keep moisture in the planting zone longer. All I need do is top the pots up.

As for effort' you can do the sums:

Takes 10-15 seconds to fill a pot x time it takes to walk between pots(although I can fill 3 pots from a single position) x total number of pots. Every 2-3 days.

Irrigation Volume 1.4 (wine cooler)-2.5 litres (21 cm pots) x number of pots.

Other advantage: I'm in control as to how much water goes where -- unlike Leaky. While I'd suffer some evaporation, on the other hand, the pots collect rainwater and dew.

Leaky suits installation in an already planted out bed without much soil disturbance  but the pots can be added to  and re-located as well. I don't move them about as I'm establishing 'riparian' ecologies (thinks I).

With that hypothesis, I think clay pots may take up to several months to merge with the local soil life.But then, by then plant roots, earth worms and microbes have moved in to the neighborhood.

Horses for courses, I guess, but servicing my pots is my quality time in the garden. I get to visit each bed, each plant and reconnoiter the health and harvest of the garden.

Comment by Dianne Caswell on December 6, 2016 at 19:00

You are certainly very busy Mary-Ann. I can see that you will be Self-Sufficient in no time. Take it easy whilst you recuperate.

Comment by Mary-Ann Baker on December 6, 2016 at 17:17

picking pawpaw beans,sugarloaf cabbages lettuce etc.  tomatoes passionfruit, chokos pumkins melos all sorts squash all sorts ,sweet corn, lots of herbs, blueberries and yougenberries nearly finished , trying to keep up with weeding and watering but have had surgery so no sun no dirt and no water so limited to a couple hours early morning and a couple hours late afternoon = no wait thats normal on a working week planting more squash melons and sweet corn - and pineapple tops ! excitement here of the more than 100 pineapples growing have a pup on one !!! yay! 

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on December 6, 2016 at 10:31

Any mulch need to go on wet ground, once down these light showers do not penetrate and the ground underneath can be as dry as ...

There are gadgets you can buy at a hardware which are fitted onto the tap then has several ports where hoses can be clicked on. Then there's individual taps on the fitting which control which hose is on and which is off. A timer, yes there are several types. Simplest is a flow-meter one without power then there's all manner of electronic gizmos. Simpler the better. Buy a small clip-on digital time and take it with you; when it beeps, time to turn off one hose and turn on another. Cheaper'n any tap timer; the 4-or-so hoses attached to one tap make watering more simple than dragging hoses thither and yon. I have one tap front and back and naturally in the most inconvenient spots ;-\

Comment by Dianne Caswell on December 6, 2016 at 9:13

Thanks for the advice Elaine, I was thinking about the soaker hoses and putting a timer on them. But first thing I have to do is get some Sugar Cane Mulch down.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on December 5, 2016 at 13:47

Dianne, would it be practical for you to instal a series of 'leaky hoses'? There's the round black one which looks like an ordinary hose at first glance. There's a flattish green one which is turned over so the fine sprays go directly into the ground. The latter comes in several lengths. Wouldn't work for pots unless the pots are quite close but could work for beds. With town-water sprinkling allowed from 4pm to 10am 6 days a week, might be an option?

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on December 5, 2016 at 10:29

Fallow is fine if mulched heavily over damp ground. The microbes will survive best if a cover crop is grown though. Anything will do - even weeds although they seed a bit freely ;-) I have noticed the beds are damper under a crop than just fallow.

Comment by Dianne Caswell on December 5, 2016 at 9:49

Thanks everyone for all your ideas, keep them coming. Looks like the irrigation is going to be too costly, so will need to look at alternatives.

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