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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.

Published in: Education, Technology, Business

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Transcript

  • 1. Water Wise Conservation Practices Cary L. Rivard, Ph.D. Dept of Horticulture Kansas State University
  • 2. 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
  • 3. 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
  • 4. Introduction Watering: Irrigation 101 Always water the ROOT ZONE
  • 5. Crop Selection Crop and Cultivar Selection • Crop species have varying needs for water • Crop Stage
  • 6. Plant Early Winter WinterSpring Summer Fall Warm-Season Crops Growth/Productivity Early Growth
  • 7. Soil Quality/Health Good Soil Protects Crops from Drought May AugJulyJune Water Availability: Poor Soils
  • 8. Soil Quality/Health Good Soil Protects Crops from Drought May AugJulyJune Water Availability: Good Soils
  • 9. 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
  • 10. vs. Raised Beds
  • 11. 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
  • 12. 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
  • 13. • 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
  • 14. Summer/Fall Cool-season Production • 30-55% shade • Sprinkler irrigation Shade Cloth
  • 15. • Designed for organic insect management • Reflect heat/sun • Multiple applications – Wash from rains Kaolin Clay Product Shading Compounds
  • 16. Monitoring Soil Moisture Get to know your soil • Check OFTEN • Tools – Tensiometer – Electronic (resistance) • “The old fashioned way” Soil Tensiometer
  • 17. 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)
  • 18. Drip Irrigation Water distribution is dependent on soil type Sand Loam Clay
  • 19. Types of Drip Systems • Inexpensive • Long rows • Variable emitter spacing • 6-20 Psi (12-15 std.) Low-pressure drip systems (drip tape)
  • 20. Thickness: Dependent on pressure of system Emitter Spacing Flow Rate
  • 21. The Drip System
  • 22. 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”
  • 23. Excellent for perennial crops…
  • 24. Types of Drip Systems Soaker hoses are NOT the same as drip/trickle
  • 25. Building the Drip System
  • 26. Sources of Irrigation Water • Surface Water – Creeks, streams – Rivers – Ponds • Below-ground – Wells • Treated water – City – Rural water districts. Advantages vs. Disadvantages
  • 27. Water filtration Above-ground water sources • Screen Filters • Plastic Disk Filters • Sand Filters – Swimming pool – Stainless steel – Ceramic
  • 28. The Drip System • Used to distribute the water to the individual drip tapes – PVC – Orchard pipe – Lay-flat Design your “header” pipe
  • 29. Watch out for leaks and kinks
  • 30. 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.
  • 31. QUESTIONS ??