Irrigation workshop offered during Rowan Creek Week
By Michael O. Fine
Rowan Cooperative Extension
Rowan County Creek Week takes place Aug. 17-24 and is a celebration honoring the rich water resources our county is so blessed have. In partnership with civic groups, environmental organizations, local government departments and local businesses, Rowan County Creek Week will offer guided hikes, kayak trips, lake and stream clean-ups, historical presentations and educational workshops. For more information on opportunities to get involved, visit https://www.rowancountync.gov/1464/Creek-Week.
In collaboration with Creek Week, the North Carolina Cooperative Extension will offer a free, three-hour workshop on Wednesday, Aug. 21 from 9 a.m. to noon that focuses on efficient irrigation strategies for fruit and vegetable plots.
This workshop is designed to employ irrigation concepts used in the commercial vegetable industry and shed some light on how these methods can be used with the same results in our own backyard food plots.
Veteran fruit and vegetable growers can attest that one of the keys to gardening success is controlling the water that enters their food plot. While we can’t prevent heavy rainfalls from drenching our soil and activating soil-borne diseases, growers can make sure that their supplemental watering is done so in a manner that gives nourishment to root systems while maintaining dry foliage via drip irrigation.
For those who are unfamiliar, drip irrigation consists of running a main water line (usually 3/4- to 1-inch pipe for plots less than an acre) at one the end of a garden plot, perpendicular to the direction of their crop rows.
Drip tape lines are then laid right alongside the crop rows and attached to the mainline using a low-cost, specialized connector. With the turn of a nozzle, an entire garden can be watered autonomously over the course of a few hours without any additional manpower.
Aside from saving gardeners the burdensome task of hauling watering cans into the garden, drip irrigation also delivers water in a manner that promotes optimal environmental conditions for healthy plants.
Believe it or not, gardeners with irrigation systems tend to yield their best fruits and vegetables during periods of low rainfall. This is because most fruiting vegetable plants start having disease issues when excess water exists on the foliage of the plants.
The workshop will be a hands-on learning opportunity with in-the-garden demonstrations, installation techniques and budgets for buying supplies. Also covered will be the use of micro-misters to get directly seeded crops to germinate quickly and uniformly. This is especially helpful if folks want to learn how to grow better stands of those tricky crops like carrots, beets and salad lettuces.
Pre-registration is required as space is limited. To register, call the N.C. Cooperative Extension Office in Rowan County at 704-216-8970 and ask to be put on the list. Hope to see you in the demonstration garden on Aug. 21.