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Water Wise Conservation Practices

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Dr. Cary Rivard, Extension Fruit and Vegetable Specialist ...

Dr. Cary Rivard, Extension Fruit and Vegetable Specialist
Kansas Community Garden Conference, July 8-9, 2013

As water resources become increasingly valuable, good water management has become critical. Learn more about irrigation systems and garden watering practices that promote maximum plant growth within your budget.

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Water Wise Conservation Practices Water Wise Conservation Practices Presentation Transcript

  • Water Wise Conservation Practices Cary L. Rivard, Ph.D. Dept of Horticulture Kansas State University
  • 4 x 200’ rows = 800 ft 800 ft / 100 ft x .5 GPM = 4 GPM 4 GPM x 180 minutes = 720 gallons 720 gal. waters the tunnel for 3 hours
  • Introduction Plants Need Water • Moves nutrients and required for photosynthesis • Water transported by transpiration – Driven by evaporation into the atmosphere • Water availability – Soil moisture – Soil type, OM, etc. • Water the root-zone (1”/week) – Crop dependent
  • Introduction Watering: Irrigation 101 Always water the ROOT ZONE
  • Crop Selection Crop and Cultivar Selection • Crop species have varying needs for water • Crop Stage
  • Plant Early Winter WinterSpring Summer Fall Warm-Season Crops Growth/Productivity Early Growth
  • Soil Quality/Health Good Soil Protects Crops from Drought May AugJulyJune Water Availability: Poor Soils
  • Soil Quality/Health Good Soil Protects Crops from Drought May AugJulyJune Water Availability: Good Soils
  • Soil Improvement • Organic matter (OM) improves soil in a number of ways – Loosens tight clays – Increases water-holding capacity – Increases cation exchange capacity – Soil “aggregates” and tilth • How OM can be added – Compost • Pre-plant or side-dressing – Degradeable mulch – Crop residues – Cover crops / green manures Adding Organic Matter
  • vs. Raised Beds
  • Mulches • Mulching is a valuable practice that is often overlooked. – Conserve soil moisture – Control weeds – Increase / reduce soil temperature – Disease management • Organic Mulches – Leaves, straw, compost, wood chips, pine straw • Plastic Mulches – Colored mulches – Reflective mulches Mulches
  • Season Extension • The harvest season can be extended using multiple strategies. – Crop and cultivar selection – Successive plantings – Garden site selection – Raised beds – Mulches – Row covers – Low tunnels – High tunnels – Shade The Benefit of Microclimate Modification
  • • Floating row covers are spun-bonded polyester that protects fragile crops from frost / freezing. • Various thicknesses • Does not get too hot • Protects from insects • Use wire hoops to support • Can be used in combination with high / low tunnels Floating Row Covers Row Covers
  • Summer/Fall Cool-season Production • 30-55% shade • Sprinkler irrigation Shade Cloth
  • • Designed for organic insect management • Reflect heat/sun • Multiple applications – Wash from rains Kaolin Clay Product Shading Compounds
  • Monitoring Soil Moisture Get to know your soil • Check OFTEN • Tools – Tensiometer – Electronic (resistance) • “The old fashioned way” Soil Tensiometer
  • Benefits of Drip / Trickle Drip irrigation has numerous benefits • Disease Management – Reduced leaf wetness – Weed Management – Precision • HIGHLY EFFICIENT – Low volume of water • Fertigation – Soluble organic fertilizers – Potassium, magnesium, etc. • Inexpensive • Plasticulture / Tunnels Mazzei Injector (Venturi-type)
  • Drip Irrigation Water distribution is dependent on soil type Sand Loam Clay
  • Types of Drip Systems • Inexpensive • Long rows • Variable emitter spacing • 6-20 Psi (12-15 std.) Low-pressure drip systems (drip tape)
  • Thickness: Dependent on pressure of system Emitter Spacing Flow Rate
  • The Drip System
  • Types of Drip Systems • Much more expensive • Shorter rows • Long life of materials – Lower maintenance • No pressure regulator • Can be purchased at hardware stores High pressure systems “drip tube”
  • Excellent for perennial crops…
  • Types of Drip Systems Soaker hoses are NOT the same as drip/trickle
  • Building the Drip System
  • Sources of Irrigation Water • Surface Water – Creeks, streams – Rivers – Ponds • Below-ground – Wells • Treated water – City – Rural water districts. Advantages vs. Disadvantages
  • Water filtration Above-ground water sources • Screen Filters • Plastic Disk Filters • Sand Filters – Swimming pool – Stainless steel – Ceramic
  • The Drip System • Used to distribute the water to the individual drip tapes – PVC – Orchard pipe – Lay-flat Design your “header” pipe
  • Watch out for leaks and kinks
  • Irrigation Efficiency Tips to save water in the garden • Use drip irrigation • Maintain healthy soil • Use mulches • Right plant, right place • Be realistic in your expectations – Crop selection – Planting dates, etc.
  • QUESTIONS ??