Monday, July 13, 2009

Getting water

Starbird Farm lies in the flood plane of the Snohomish river. In the winter the water table is right at the surface. This summer, however, has been quite dry (1/4 in of rain in the last 6 weeks). Our shallow pit wells (2-3 feet deep) which we used in May for irrigation water have all dried up. Other gardeners in the area are still getting water at about 5 feet down. One way we could get water would be with a driven well.

We would need a well point, a couple of special couplers, drive cap and a hand operated pitcher pump. Total cost $130 + shipping if you can't find it locally. This is heavy stuff so shipping mught add up to $70, so figure on $200.

That'll get us maybe 5 gal/min which is pretty slow, so we'd want a storage tank. We could use rain barrels at $30 each. They hold about 30 gal so we would pump for min and then water for a while.

Ordinary soaker hose requires a water pressure of 10 lbs/ We would have to set the water barrel 23 feet above ground to get that pressure. So I'd go for special rain barrel soaker hose which is designed to work at lower pressure. $22/100 ft.

So if we did 2 100 ft beds for shallow root plants and 2 soaker hoses per bed, our capital investment for a watering system would be about $385.

Alternatively, we could use 2 rain barrels -- one at the garden and one in our pickup, bring water from home and a 12v transfer pump to move water from the pickup to the garden tank for a capital investment of $110.

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