Thursday, September 6, 2012

Irrigation/Irritation - it's all the same thing

We have come to realize that the irrigation in our yard and vegetable garden was designed by someone who was very very drunk for a very long time - or else was just goofing on the people who paid him to design and install the system.

We were perplexed when the former owner told us that he really didn't use his fancy-dancy, practically scrambles your morning eggs for you, sprinkler timer.

"Well," said he,  "I water the first three zones using the timer, but for the others I just water by hand."  This for 7 sprinkler zones.

That seemed kind of silly in this dry, "water is to be conserved" part of Southern California.  Nonetheless when The Bearded One programmed the timer as it was meant to be programmed, we discovered that the fruit trees and the succulent garden were on the same zone - one needs water daily, the other needs water pretty much once a week during the dry season unless it is REALLY hot and then it needs water more often, but still not on a daily basis.  WHO DOES THIS?

We have now mapped the sprinkler system.  There seems to be no "plan" involved.  The yard, currently ringed with green and sporting a jaunty burned out patch in the center, is watered daily by "the incorrect sprinkler heads".  We know this because we wound up consulting an expert about "what the heck to do".

As soon as the weather cools, we will be digging up and replacing the majority of the sprinkler heads in the grass, capping a large number of risers (that are needed only because the current pop up heads do not give the proper coverage).  We have begun replacing the drench heads serving the fruit trees because they are watering the tree trunks and LOTS of surrounding dirt while generally missing the drip line of the trees where a deep soak should be the order of the day.

The flower beds, miraculously were properly irrigated, except for the roses which need "regular deep watering - as much as a couple of gallons a day in hot weather.  And don't forget to feed them every 4 to 6 weeks."  For the roses, the soaker hose (1/4 gallon per hour) was replaced by an adjustable (0 - 10 gph) dripper and they are looking much less wilted now.  I should be able to cut back on the dripper setting in another couple of weeks.

Apparently, the citrus trees need as much water as the roses.  Sigh.  And are also as "hungry" as the roses, needing food just as regularly.  "Those little citrus stakes in the stores?  They just don't do it."

I sincerely hope that we get all of this figured out sooner rather than later and do not have to resort to paying our college students to stand around and about the yard holding hoses when they are not in class.

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