Greenhouse Watering


Basically, I took my shower in the greenhouse yesterday.

See, I’ve had experience with those misting systems, we used to have one on our patio. Mostly it worked, but it was a pain to get all the nozzles pointing in the right direction. What I’m saying is that I THOUGHT it was a pain, working with about 15 feet of hose, but what I’m REALLY saying is that 75 feet is much, much worse…

The concept is great—string up some ¼ inch hose with evenly spaced nozzle doohickies, connect it to your water source of choice, and water your plants.

Actually, there’s a bit more to it:

First, you have to attach the hose to the greenhouse. Most people probably string it along the middle of the beds, up high, and while I know my grow lights are water resistant, I still didn’t want them getting soaked. Also, I’m not that tall, and I still maintain I hung these at the correct height to avoid going up and down a ladder all day. Long story short, my hose runs along the side wall, with the nozzles pointing straight over the beds. It works.

But the point is that they send you these tiny plastic things with a tiny nail—already inserted, thank goodness, and they’re a bit hard to hit just right, while you’re trying to keep them on the hose in the right location on the wall. Yes, you could attach them and THEN put the hose in, but that requires a certain dexterity and knife to pry the doohickey from the wall just a tad. And then it pops off. Also, my knife is rather sharp…

So the hose is attached, the wounds are bandaged, and my back is killing me. Also, I initially ran a single line from the back of the greenhouse to the end of the center bed and back—which looked odd, but it worked. Sort of. I spent some time ducking under and getting the first shower or three.

I got some bits and pieces and used a T-connector to string just one line up the center bed. Much better.

Now, if you’ve never worked with these nozzles on a misting system, you are definitely in for some fun! You adjust the first one, then the second. You adjust the third one…and the first and second move. They’re either pointing at the wall or straight up in the air.

What I’m saying is that you need at least three hands to make all the adjustments. Four would be even better.

Next, you look around and see that some of these nozzles are merely dripping instead of misting, or maybe not working at all. And the only way to tell is if the water is on…I was soaked by the time we finished, and no, we weren’t done, just finished.

And finally, a word about water pressure. I mentioned before that I either needed a pump or a water tower for rain barrel watering, and we of course opted for the pump. However, when the water comes straight from the hose—wow, do you get results! Especially with the pump also hooked up. Unfortunately, that negates the use of the rain barrel altogether, so my husband has a few other pump parts he’s going to put in the barrel and we’ll see how that works.

In the meantime, I’m headed back out to probably take yet another shower in the greenhouse—and plant some tomatoes, zucchini, and potatoes!

 

UPDATE:

Yesterday, the seeds and plants got a good soaking while my husband worked on this water issue—hey, he volunteered while I was putting mulch in the garden itself.

We have four types of watering: rain barrel alone, with barely any pressure at all; rain barrel with pump, not bad but still takes an hour for a good soaking; hose from a hydrant, about 30 minutes’ watering time; and hose with the pump, 15 minutes and done.

So we’ve opted for the hydrant/pump combo. I’ll still use the rain barrel for any hand watering, filling the animals’ water dish in the garden, and maybe the fruit trees. But we’ve been talking about putting in another hydrant near or in the garden area for a while, so we’ll be calling “the guy” to come dig a trench as soon as I decide where to put it.

 

What Else is in the Greenhouse?


Besides all my experiments, the herbs I generally keep on the kitchen porch will be transplanted into the center beds in the greenhouse: lemon balm, thyme, cumin, oregano, cilantro, parsley, sage, basil, chives. And one plant that I don’t know what it is—I’ve had it for a long time, it’s pretty and green, but I always forget to look it up!

Maybe you can give me a clue:

The final bed, besides holding all those freakin’ onions, has spinach—for some reason that didn’t do well in the garden this year, although the kale is still going strong—and I’ll be adding some other vegetables that we normally eat throughout the winter:

Tomatoes

Peppers

Zucchini

Yellow squash

The tale of the zucchini is a sad one…two years ago, I had tons of zucchini. We ate it fresh, I froze a few gallons, and it lasted us almost until the following year’s harvest.

And then the squash bugs came. I had some beautiful squash, and it all died. Every last one. I tried laying down a board—as per the Almanac—and that did nothing except leave a depression on the ground and attract a few ants. I was tempted to burn the whole mess.

This year, they came back; I did get one zuke and one yellow squash before, one by one, the plants died. And let me tell you, I was out there twice a day, using neem powder, scraping eggs off leaves, killing the nymphs, and drowning the adults. Nothing helped.

So into the greenhouse we go, and I’ll keep you posted on how this works out!

I’m considering green beans for inside planting too, which sounds crazy to me but my back was killing me bending over to pick them—maybe it’s time to elevate those too.

The last thing I’m thinking about is popcorn. My dad and stepmom grew it on their farm, decades ago, and this year I was finally able to grow sweet corn. It got to 6 feet tall, tasseled, grew ears, got silks, and I kept the beetles and their eggs away, thanks to neem powder and mineral oil. But I got so carried away admiring all this—for several years, my stalks reached a bare two feet; horse manure, however, works wonders—that I waited too long to pick the ears. They were edible, but just barely.

But I did put some in a cloth bag and hung them in the lean-to to dry for next year’s seed, so it wasn’t all lost.

But popcorn—man, I love popcorn, I eat some almost every day for a snack, or sometimes for lunch. My concern is cross-pollination with the sweet corn, so I think I’ll give it a shot in the greenhouse. I’ve got the height, if I plant in the right spot. We shall see…

Let’s talk about the watering system for a minute. I ordered a misting system, which is a pain in the butt although it works well. I figured I’d string it along the walls, slightly below the lights, and then zig up the middle bed and zag back to the other side.

And it works, for the most part. I don’t mind a little spray now, but I sure will when winter hits! So I’m waiting on a few more parts—and some more line, just in case I mess up at some point—to make a few adjustments.

Now, we first hooked it up to the hose, because the rain barrel had yet to fill. I wanted to make sure I hadn’t ordered a dud and make all the sprayer adjustments. Then we hooked it up to the rain barrel.

All I got were dribbles.

So I did some reading. The first thing that jumped out at me was that a rain barrel, for a gravity feed, needed to be placed 23.1 feet above the garden bed. Um, excuse me, that’s not a rain barrel, that’s a water tower! When I got done laughing at the thought of asking my husband to build a water tower, I read about pumps. Yep, that’s the way to go. It makes some noise but, as a bonus, that noise chases the cats out the door, so there’s that!