Thursday, April 16, 2015

Water Wise Garden

This is basically the same Earthan Beds I've been building, but it's done in the ground.
Here are some pictures of how I built this water wise garden.
The hole was dug with a trench for the 4" drain line and a sump pit at the lowest point

The pond liner placed with 4" perforated drain line.  Notice the filter sleeve on the drain line.

Gravel being spread level
  Here the water is used to help me spread the gravel level across the entire bed.  I find it useful to temporarily raise the water level to the top of the gravel for this procedure.  When finished the water level will be maintained 2" below this level so that the soil does not sit directly in the water.
This black shade cloth is laid on top of the gravel to keep the soil from washing down into the gravel
The water tank has not been installed yet.  I will bury it next to this garden bed and pull the pond liner down so that it drains excess water into the tank. 
The soil has been added.  This soil mix contains has enough clay that it will wick the moisture up from below
I will clean up the edge so that it looks nice.  The pump sits inside the 6" PVC pipe.  I used 1/2" PVC pipe to connect the tube that runs to the other end through the 4" drain line.  I will also extend electricity to the side of the garden so that I don't have to use this extension cord.

A thick layer of mulch will be added when I plant.  This garden will save rain water, and maintain moisture below the surface without loss to evaporation.   There is no need to water this garden other than occasionally maintaining some water in the reservoir tank.  The amount of water used will depend upon the type of crop and the heat, but it will not waste a drop.

After I install the large reservoir water tank the pump will be moved out of the sump to the larger tank.  It would have been easier to have done it this way from the beginning, but I did not feel that I was up to digging a hole that size right now, and wanted to get this garden planted.   Here is a diagram of how it will eventually work.

This could be duplicated on a much larger scale for commercial farming. Sure it's a lot of work and extra expense, but the savings in water should count for something. With a large enough reservoir, and contouring of the land; the need for any extra water could be eliminated by capturing rain water..
 This is July 4th.  The basil and tomatoes have done well.  It's been about 10 weeks since this garden was planted and it has used about 100 gallons of water from the reservoir which provides flowing water under the garden bed 24/7.   It's been the easiest of all my gardens because I have not had to water it.  The tank pictured below holds 135 gallons.  There is a small Model 5 utility pump inside that pumps water to the far end of the rocks buried below the soil.
I plan to build a top for this so that it looks nice.  I would not want someone to trip into the hole. I also need to finish running an electric outlet over to the pump.

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