Monday, June 14, 2010

Urban Gardener Weekend Update: Automation!

Sprinkler systems aren't just for the suburbs! This weekend we set up our own automated watering system, which gives us the ability to get away on weekends without having to hire a babysitter. We first automated in 2008. That's when we purchased everything from a timer to PVC tubing from The Drip Store . The system includes small stakes with adjustable heads that drip water into our pots. This way, we can set the timer to water in the early morning, for about five minutes, and adjust the flow individually for each plant. This year, we have more crops, so we expanded the system to encircle our entire terrace.
Our total investment over the two years has come to about $150, a small price to pay. With our sprinklers in place, there's no more early morning wake ups for watering before work. No rushing home in the evening on blistering hot days. The garden is on auto pilot.
Of course, we still have to weed and fertilize; we have to defend against bug infestations and plant diseases. But the day-to-day basics are taken care of.
We've already begun to enjoy the fruits of our labor. I harvested plenty of lettuce, cilantro, parsley and basil this weekend for a healthy salad. We also spotted our first bell pepper growing. The eggplants and tomatoes are beginning to flower and could be ripe for the picking in a few weeks or so. Can't wait!

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