Plastic cover?


NCMau

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Next spring I am going to try a new gardening approach. I am planning to use drip irrigation tape that I read farmers also use. My garden over the years has grown considerably smaller. Kids gone, I want to have less garden upkeep.

With this new approach, I am planning to use some type of cover such as plastic or other material over the drip tape. On top of the material I would place a good thick layer of leaf mulch as I usually do.

What type of material would you advice to use. I know plastic is widely used in farming for weed control, but are any other material better suited for this method?
 
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Where do you live? If you live where it gets hot then plastic will over heat the soil and you will also lose some rain benefit. A thick layer of good mulch is best. Also check out stirrup hoes or hula hoes. I have a good sized garden and one of those tools makes weeding extremely easy and quick. I have drip irrigation but rain is much much better than any type of irrigation system and anything that restricts rainwater, to me anyway, is not a really beneficial thing. Drip irrigation should only be used in times of no rain.
 
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NCMau

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Where do you live? If you live where it gets hot then plastic will over heat the soil and you will also lose some rain benefit. A thick layer of good mulch is best. Also check out stirrup hoes or hula hoes. I have a good sized garden and one of those tools makes weeding extremely easy and quick. I have drip irrigation but rain is much much better than any type of irrigation system and anything that restricts rainwater, to me anyway, is not a really beneficial thing. Drip irrigation should only be used in times of no rain.
Chuck, thanks for the reply. You are right, I guess in the Sand hills of North Carolina, plastic would get the soil too hot. I do like, however, the drip irrigation method. In the past few years I have been using two, 1/2” pvc pipe with small holes spaced proportionately for equal water distribution. The pipes are placed close to the plants, couple inches below ground. I have a timer setup to water two hours a night when there is no rain in the forecast. Lots of pine straw. I guess it has been working pretty satisfactory considering this area is not an ideal garden climate. This year I would like to try this flat vinyl tape. I believe it would work better for water distribution. Of course, I have to experiment and regulate the GPM output and instead of pine straw, I will be using shredded leaves which I think will be less acid. Here is a link for this tape and let me what you think.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Irritec-P1-5-8-Drip-Irrigation-Tape-15-mil-8-Spacing-0-25-GPH-100/252275238328?ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649
 
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Chuck, thanks for the reply. You are right, I guess in the Sand hills of North Carolina, plastic would get the soil too hot. I do like, however, the drip irrigation method. In the past few years I have been using two, 1/2” pvc pipe with small holes spaced proportionately for equal water distribution. The pipes are placed close to the plants, couple inches below ground. I have a timer setup to water two hours a night when there is no rain in the forecast. Lots of pine straw. I guess it has been working pretty satisfactory considering this area is not an ideal garden climate. This year I would like to try this flat vinyl tape. I believe it would work better for water distribution. Of course, I have to experiment and regulate the GPM output and instead of pine straw, I will be using shredded leaves which I think will be less acid. Here is a link for this tape and let me what you think.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Irritec-P1-5-8-Drip-Irrigation-Tape-15-mil-8-Spacing-0-25-GPH-100/252275238328?ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649
About 12 years ago I started using drip irrigation and I also started with the tape. However, my well water has a LOT of calcium in it and it plugged up the little holes after less than a season. I then tried systems from Rainbird and a bunch of others but have found DripWorks the best of all. My garden is about 1/4 acre and I did the whole thing for about $150 using their inline drip emitter system. Mine is 1/2GPH and I can water the entire thing or any part and it all just attaches to a garden hose. I like it because it allows me to change the distance between emitters. So say this year I am going to plant tomatoes in this row but last year the row was a row crop of beans. I can space my emitters at 3 feet instead a foot. You can buy all of the different little elbows, couplings, 4 ways, Tee's etc online cheap. DripWorks emitters are also easily cleanable if they do plug up.
 
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@Chuck I have a tiny garden area but really like using a system simlar to yours. I got mine through Lee Valley tools and probably paid too much but with so many little areas and hanging pots, it is a super system. The srayers and drippers are almost identical, just different colours. I have an inline fertilizer injector for mine and shut off valves for the various zones.
 
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@Chuck I have a tiny garden area but really like using a system simlar to yours. I got mine through Lee Valley tools and probably paid too much but with so many little areas and hanging pots, it is a super system. The srayers and drippers are almost identical, just different colours. I have an inline fertilizer injector for mine and shut off valves for the various zones.
Mine is big, about 500 emitters, but just basic. No injectors or sprayers, just emitters. I shut things off by crimping the line with a piece of 1/2"CPVC on the rows I don't want watered.
 
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NCMau

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About 12 years ago I started using drip irrigation and I also started with the tape. However, my well water has a LOT of calcium in it and it plugged up the little holes after less than a season. I then tried systems from Rainbird and a bunch of others but have found DripWorks the best of all. My garden is about 1/4 acre and I did the whole thing for about $150 using their inline drip emitter system. Mine is 1/2GPH and I can water the entire thing or any part and it all just attaches to a garden hose. I like it because it allows me to change the distance between emitters. So say this year I am going to plant tomatoes in this row but last year the row was a row crop of beans. I can space my emitters at 3 feet instead a foot. You can buy all of the different little elbows, couplings, 4 ways, Tee's etc online cheap. DripWorks emitters are also easily cleanable if they do plug up.
Since I have already purchased it, I will be using this Irritec tape and see what happens. I am not sure if I should place the irrigation holes upward or downward and above or below ground. The PVC pipe that I previously used was couple inches below ground. The manufacturer indicates that this tape can be used either way. As I mentioned, it will be covered with 4” to 6” of shredded leaves. Years ago my garden used to be a 1/4 acre also… with lots of canning and freezing veggies going on, but…no more. Now, just for my wife and I, one 75 ft row is sufficient for few fresh veggies.
 
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Since I have already purchased it, I will be using this Irritec tape and see what happens. I am not sure if I should place the irrigation holes upward or downward and above or below ground. The PVC pipe that I previously used was couple inches below ground. The manufacturer indicates that this tape can be used either way. As I mentioned, it will be covered with 4” to 6” of shredded leaves. Years ago my garden used to be a 1/4 acre also… with lots of canning and freezing veggies going on, but…no more. Now, just for my wife and I, one 75 ft row is sufficient for few fresh veggies.
On my tape with the holes facing up it just kind of bubbled out so I don't really see any difference between facing up or down..
I'm thinking of shrinking my garden also. I just turned 70 and its getting to be a little too much work and more importantly it is lowering my beer drinking hours because I am just not as fast or a steadier worker than I used to be.
 

NCMau

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On my tape with the holes facing up it just kind of bubbled out so I don't really see any difference between facing up or down..
I'm thinking of shrinking my garden also. I just turned 70 and its getting to be a little too much work and more importantly it is lowering my beer drinking hours because I am just not as fast or a steadier worker than I used to be.
No!!! Never surrender your beer drinking hours. It’s unconstitutional!

In an other topic…. In pursuing the quest of work simplification, I am thinking about liquid fertilization to be applied with the tape irrigation. Last year I tried a Miracle Grow fertilizer fed in line. It seemed to work okay. This year I am going to experiment with a different recipe (many options found online). I need to find one with low nitrogen applicable to tomatoes because that’s what i mainly grow.

Yea!… I need to simplify my work chores. My 10 acres, half wood and half lawn and my shop projects are keeping me with a steady employment, which I very much enjoy… but I am a lot closer to 80 than I am at 20, so I need to be more energy efficient.
 
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No!!! Never surrender your beer drinking hours. It’s unconstitutional! In an other topic…. In pursuing the quest of work simplification, I am thinking about liquid fertilization to be applied with the tape irrigation. Last year I tried a Miracle Grow fertilizer fed in line. It seemed to work okay. This year I am going to experiment with a different recipe (many options found online). I need to find one with low nitrogen applicable to tomatoes because that’s what i mainly grow. Yea!… I need to simplify my work chores. My 10 acres, half wood and half lawn and my shop projects are keeping me with a steady employment, which I very much enjoy… but I am a lot closer to 80 than I am at 20, so I need to be more energy efficient.
No!!! Never surrender your beer drinking hours. It’s unconstitutional! In an other topic…. In pursuing the quest of work simplification, I am thinking about liquid fertilization to be applied with the tape irrigation. Last year I tried a Miracle Grow fertilizer fed in line. It seemed to work okay. This year I am going to experiment with a different recipe (many options found online). I need to find one with low nitrogen applicable to tomatoes because that’s what i mainly grow. Yea!… I need to simplify my work chores. My 10 acres, half wood and half lawn and my shop projects are keeping me with a steady employment, which I very much enjoy… but I am a lot closer to 80 than I am at 20, so I need to be more energy efficient.
No!!! Never surrender your beer drinking hours. It’s unconstitutional! In an other topic…. In pursuing the quest of work simplification, I am thinking about liquid fertilization to be applied with the tape irrigation. Last year I tried a Miracle Grow fertilizer fed in line. It seemed to work okay. This year I am going to experiment with a different recipe (many options found online). I need to find one with low nitrogen applicable to tomatoes because that’s what i mainly grow. Yea!… I need to simplify my work chores. My 10 acres, half wood and half lawn and my shop projects are keeping me with a steady employment, which I very much enjoy… but I am a lot closer to 80 than I am at 20, so I need to be more energy efficient.
I don't have an injector system. I only use pelleted organic fertilizer, both in the soil at planting, as a side dressing and in compost tea. I have found compost tea to be my main form of nutrition for tomatoes. I normally have around 100 plants and I brew 6 five gallon buckets of tea at a time which allows me to feed my tomatoes a quart of undiluted tea once per week. I make 2 batches of tea per week and use every drop. It isn't hard or very time consuming either. On an injector system like yours if you strained out the little tiny particles you could easily use it on an inline system and if it rains and the plant doesn't need watering just apply the tea by hand.
 
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@Chuck tell me please about your tea starter, and also what you add? I assume you have a air pump that bubbles the buckets or is it a water mixing pump?
 
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@Chuck tell me please about your tea starter, and also what you add? I assume you have a air pump that bubbles the buckets or is it a water mixing pump?
I just use aquarium pumps and air stones. I hook up 3 pumps to 6 buckets of water. My usual recipe is a couple of handsfull of manure based compost, about a cup of organic manure based pelleted fertilizer, a handfull or two of garden soil, 2 oz fish emulsion, 2 oz liquid seaweed, 2 oz molasses, 2 oz liquid humate per bucket of water. If I have a plant that I think needs more iron or nitrogen I add that to the amount I pour on the plant. Sometimes I also foliar spray the plants if I see things it will help. I normally give each plant (tomato, pepper, eggplant) a quart per week. On row crops like beans and peas I use a watering can and just pour it over the plants once a week. On other crops such as squash, cucumbers and okra I give them a quart about every 2 weeks. On corn I don't use compost tea, I just use a high nitrogen source like blood meal every 2 weeks and side dress with pelleted fertilizer
 
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I laughed when I screenshot your recipe because it is something I regularly do for BBQ and other cooking, but I realize I am pretty far gone at this point to screenshot a compost tea recipe!

One last question, that being how do you feel about the temperatures involved with brewing the most active compost tea?
 
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I laughed when I screenshot your recipe because it is something I regularly do for BBQ and other cooking, but I realize I am pretty far gone at this point to screenshot a compost tea recipe!

One last question, that being how do you feel about the temperatures involved with brewing the most active compost tea?
I live where it gets hot. 100+ degree temperatures are common. The hotter it gets the faster compost tea will go anaerobic. When compost tea goes anaerobic all of the living micro-organisms die and become very odoriferous. The tea is still beneficial but not even close to as beneficial as aerobic tea where the micro-organisms are still alive. So, how hot is too hot to make good tea. One can still make good tea in extremely hot temperatures. The hotter it gets the more oxygen is needed because the hotter it gets the faster the micro-organisms reproduce and before long there are so many that they reduce the oxygen supply to zero. Also, the more molasses that is in the mix the faster the micro-organisms reproduce because the molasses (carbohydrates) are what they feed on. There is no magic number of days to brew tea. Where it is cooler you can brew longer and add more molasses. Where it is hot just the opposite. Where I live, in the hot summer about 2 days brewing is max and 2 oz of molasses max. Where the high temperatures are in the low 90's maybe 4 days and 3 oz of molasses. It takes experimentation to find out. The secret to a good tea is to have as many micro-organisms present as possible because they are what breaks down all of the organic matter present in the tea and in the soil your plants are planted in. And organic matter is totally useless to plants if the plant isn't able to uptake its nutrients. Micro-organisms break down the organic matter and allow the plant to actually use the available nutrients made possible by them. So, the more micro-organisms you are able to grow in your compost tea the better.
 
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I think I can say I have never seen that relationship described so well in print. I have seen allusion to heat and cold being influences in a vague way, but your description is so much more to the point.
 

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