Claud The Backyard Farmer (self proclaimed)

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Re: Claud The Backyard Farmer (self proclaimed)

Postby Claudiusx » Fri May 01, 2020 5:16 pm

Auto Irrigation System Install



Well i've been going back and fourth on whether or not I want to set up a sprinkler or drip line system in my raised beds. I really like "working" in them, so if I wasn't even able to water anymore, I'd feel quite bored.

But, I figured it would probably be best for the plants if they were on an automatic watering system, that way it can run early morning before the sun gets up, water can be adjusted easily, and it can be done on a regular consistent basis.

So, I talked myself into setting up a system. We originally installed drip irrigation in my grandparents beds. But after a few years and talking to him, he told me he ripped it out last year and put in sprinklers instead. So, seeing as how he didn't like the drip, I decided I'd go with a sprinkler system too.

So, I came up with a few plans of how I would do it in my head, and then headed to home depot to get the supplies I would need.

So, Since I already have a half inch poly line running in my flower beds for drip irrigations for the bushes and what not, I figured it would be easiest to just tie into that, and bring it over into the beds.

Luckily, one end of the mega L is near the end of the poly line. So the plan was to trench from the flower bed over to the raised bed, and connect to the poly line there.

Here is the existing poly line in the flower beds. (it is the black line in the center of the picture, not near the edge of my grass. That is a lawn edge guard.)
[Click image to enlarge]

I cut it right there, and put an elbow on it to direct it towards the bed, and the trench I was digging.
[Click image to enlarge]

[Click image to enlarge]

Since this poly line isn't really made to be buried (it kinks and crushes easily) I had some stiffer plastic tubing that is very strong, and luckily is the perfect size for the poly line to slide through.
[Click image to enlarge]

Once I got it over to the bed, I just shot straight up with it.
[Click image to enlarge]

That is the line coming up out of the ground. From that point I cut the line a little below the soil level, and put an elbow on it to start it on its way towards feeding the beds.

So in the next picture, starting in that back corner is where the line feeds in, then it follows the length of that first bed
[Click image to enlarge]

Where it eventually T's through the other part of the mega L like this:
[Click image to enlarge]

I drilled a hole through the wall of the bed right there to feed the tube through.
[Click image to enlarge]

And once that T was on, I just put more line on either side so that the second bed in the mega L had line going down 1 of it's long sides.
[Click image to enlarge]

[Click image to enlarge]


Then the sprinklers were put into place, and barbed into the main poly feed line.
Some close ups of the sprinklers spraying
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And here is the full picture.
[Click image to enlarge]

[Click image to enlarge]


Only needed to run the main line on 1 length of each bed as I could easily barb and T in some of the much smaller poly line that feeds the actual sprinkler.

My sprinkler clock is set to run that zone for 15 minutes. So I let it go for 15 minutes to see how much water it would put down. And it was about perfect! The beauty of it is, if I notice them getting too much water, I can just cut down the watering a few minutes. Or visa versa, add more time.

The sprinklers are 180 degree throw, and fully adjustable output. I was worried that having so many sprinklers on the 1 line (including the other few drip fittings for the rest of the bushes that are on the line) would cause too much pressure loss, but its perfect! Since the sprinklers have a valve to adjust their flow, I was able to dial in each one to the perfect amount so that there was plenty of overlap, and minimal overspray outside of the bed. And I checked the existing fittings on the line, they were all flowing properly too!

I am super glad that I did this. Definitely worth the small $50~ investment and the few hours of time. I did get pretty sunburned on my back though. It was hot so no shirt. We've been having constant 7-9 UVI days here :roll:

-Brandon
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Re: Claud The Backyard Farmer (self proclaimed)

Postby DragonPete » Sat May 02, 2020 10:34 am

Wow! Busy day! Next time get DW to put some sun screen on your back.
Great job! 👍 What are you gonna do now that you don't need to water? 🤔
I'm sitting on my front porch, weather is gorgeous! Just finished some clean up on my rose bushes. Brought out my porch plants that had to go in for the winter. I'm sure they'll be much happier now. Considering I let a couple of them die. 😵 They old ones will perk up. I have a ficus that's 22 yrs old and moved all over the southeast. 😊 Fred's been with me the longest. Yes, that's Fred the Ficus. Lol! Most neurotic tree on the planet! Move him, touch him, let the wind blow on him and he immediately starts dropping leaves! Entirely too funny! 😆 He always comes back beautifully but Its a running joke in my family. You can move him 6 inches or turn his pot and he starts throwing leaves! Lol! 😆
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Re: Claud The Backyard Farmer (self proclaimed)

Postby Claudiusx » Fri May 08, 2020 4:51 pm

That's too funny Dee. You basically have a pet tree haha.

Well here is a garden update. Most everything is doing well. Although some things aren't growing as quickly as i'd imagined.

But, the strawberries are doing great! Lots and lots of fruit is being produced.
[Click image to enlarge]

[Click image to enlarge]

[Click image to enlarge]

[Click image to enlarge]


The Zucchini really isn't doing well. But for some reason, right in the center it looks like it's trying to flower... it needs to focus on making some leaves lol. I really don't expect it to live but it might surprise me. I planted a few seeds next to it as a backup plan. If they all sprout, the strongest biggest one will be allowed to live... :twisted:
[Click image to enlarge]


Here is the store bought cucumber. It has grown quite well this past week actually. For awhile we didn't think it was going to make it either! But it looks like it's definitely on the up and up.
[Click image to enlarge]


My onions are doing ok. Not growing very quick it seems, but looks like the bulb is starting to get some size. Picture makes it look bigger than it actually is.
[Click image to enlarge]


And here is one of the bell pepper plants. They all have little buds on them that look like they are gonna be peppers. This one is the biggest.
[Click image to enlarge]


The Jalapeno plant doesn't seem to have started to produce anything yet.

And here are a few of the startings I've got potted just in case anything dies haha. They've been living outside so hopefully if I need to, transplanting them won't shock them too much.
In the pots there is 1 watermelon, 2 zucchini, 1 cucumber, and 2 cantaloupe. Only 1 of the cantaloupe have sprouted so far.
[Click image to enlarge]


And next up we have the Roma Tomato. This is the one plant that has just exploded this week. I swear, you could look at it every hour and notice new growth on it. It was awesome to see such growth. Seemed to grow 2 inches taller each day this week.
[Click image to enlarge]


And here we have the little beefsteak tomato that could haha. It's one of my transplants. I had 3 in that area, this is the only one that survived, and it took it a whole week + just to get to this point. I really need to learn how to transplant without shocking them!
[Click image to enlarge]


And we have 2 watermelons that were started as seeds in the bed. There originally were like 6 or 7 plants, I cut out all but the 2 biggest and strongest. And will probably cut out the weakest one left over next week. Only need 1 plant (only have the space for one haha)
[Click image to enlarge]


The salad bed hasn't been doing too good. The sprouts are apparently bird magnets. The birds have been coming and picking at them. Plus, it's really just too hot for those greens right now I think. We are talking about maybe just giving up on them, and planting something else in that bed until the temperatures cool, then we will plant our greens. We will see though.

-Brandon
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Re: Claud The Backyard Farmer (self proclaimed)

Postby kingofnobbys » Fri May 08, 2020 11:40 pm

Doing well , warm weather and availability of seedlings is a huge headstart .

Meanwhile, it's cooling off here and still no seedlings anywhere to be found in all the normal venders' garden shops and garden centres ( unless you want pretty stuff ).
CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
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Re: Claud The Backyard Farmer (self proclaimed)

Postby CooperDragon » Sat May 09, 2020 8:03 am

We just had a freeze warning here overnight. Pretty unusual for this late in the year. Bright sunny morning though so the temps bounced right back up after sunrise. Had to heavily water everything and covered the vegetable garden with sheets. Looks like everything got through OK. I took a pineapple top and planted it in the mint garden. We'll see how a Pineapple tree handles the scorching summers and freezing winters of Iowa :lol:
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Re: Claud The Backyard Farmer (self proclaimed)

Postby Claudiusx » Sat May 09, 2020 9:18 am

We were supposed to have much colder weather here too today. 2 weeks of scorchers, today is supposed to only be 72! Perfect for me lol. And it's going to stay cool the rest of the week, we are even supposed to get rain on Tuesday.

What all do you have planted right now?

I watched some videos about planting pineapple tops actually. Just been waiting for a pineapple to magically show up in my house for me to plant it apparently haha. But I definitely want to try!

Oh I forgot to post also, I did plant two potatoes in one of our pots. The golden ones. Not sure of their exact variety, it was an off brand bundle of them. But, they haven't pierced the surface yet so once they do, I'll have pictures :)

-Brandon
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Re: Claud The Backyard Farmer (self proclaimed)

Postby Claudiusx » Sat May 09, 2020 9:25 am

kingofnobbys wrote:Meanwhile, it's cooling off here and still no seedlings anywhere to be found in all the normal venders' garden shops and garden centres ( unless you want pretty stuff ).

That sucks, still have plenty of seeds in stores, and there are still even veggie plants left, although they have been picked a bit thin.

However a very nice variety of seeds I ordered online still hasn't been shipped to me over a month later. What good is that if I get my seeds after the window to plant them is over?

It's ok, I still have a nice variety here at home and plenty extra to plant if I need to.

-Brandon
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Re: Claud The Backyard Farmer (self proclaimed)

Postby CooperDragon » Sat May 09, 2020 9:32 am

I have green onions that are up. Mint is going strong in a secondary area. I planted a green bell pepper and a jalapeno that are still underground. Have some kale and collards that are just starting to sprout. That's about all there is room for. Front garden has a bunch of native prairie wildflowers that the hummingbirds like.

I planted a pineapple top last year and have it in a large pot indoors. It does pretty well but is still small. This one I just had on hand so stuck it in the garden. Not thriving yet but who knows. It can take several years for them to produce one pineapple if they ever do so it's not really worth it aside from amusement.
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Re: Claud The Backyard Farmer (self proclaimed)

Postby Claudiusx » Sat May 09, 2020 9:38 am

CooperDragon wrote: It can take several years for them to produce one pineapple if they ever do so it's not really worth it aside from amusement.

I'm not a huge fan of pineapple, so it would be solely for amusement ha.

Well, apparently we did get some cold damp weather overnight, because this morning when I went to check the beds, some of the "mulch" I added to the tops of the beds have sprouted mushrooms.

Anybody have any thoughts on this? I will be removing them, but do I need to take further action? Is it bad for the garden? Bad for the plants? Or can I pretty much just let it be?

-Brandon
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Re: Claud The Backyard Farmer (self proclaimed)

Postby CooperDragon » Sat May 09, 2020 1:59 pm

I'm not sure. I would guess that it is normal around anything damp and decomposing. I don't know if it will harm plants though.
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Re: Claud The Backyard Farmer (self proclaimed)

Postby kingofnobbys » Sat May 09, 2020 10:10 pm

Claudiusx wrote:
CooperDragon wrote: It can take several years for them to produce one pineapple if they ever do so it's not really worth it aside from amusement.

I'm not a huge fan of pineapple, so it would be solely for amusement ha.

Well, apparently we did get some cold damp weather overnight, because this morning when I went to check the beds, some of the "mulch" I added to the tops of the beds have sprouted mushrooms.

Anybody have any thoughts on this? I will be removing them, but do I need to take further action? Is it bad for the garden? Bad for the plants? Or can I pretty much just let it be?

-Brandon


My beds were full of them for weeks a couple of weeks after that cold wet spell. I think they will have improved your soil by adding nitrogen and carbon to it in the growth process and when they died back.
My sister who is a farmer told me mushrooms and toaststools popping up is a good sign.
Their benefit is explained here ( https://growace.com/blog/mushrooms-why- ... lthy-soil/ )
The fungus that produces the mushrooms is decaying the organic matter you have added to the bed (a good thing) and will not hurt the vegetables. Many plants have a symbiotic interrelationship with mushrooms and can't survive without their presence in the soil about their roots.
CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : , Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Gutzy (F) rescued 27Sep19 - RIP 3Aug20 (est 12 yo), Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
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Re: Claud The Backyard Farmer (self proclaimed)

Postby Claudiusx » Thu May 21, 2020 5:11 pm

Well the mushrooms were a 1 day and done type of thing. Popped up, died, and never showed back up again. So I'm sure that fungus and decomposing mushroom material will just benefit the soil.

Some plants have been absoutely thriving. Others have been a bit more slow.

I really am coming to the conclusion that my mega L bed gets too much sun. Either that, or the past few weeks the sun has been way too intense. I can tell most of the plants are stressed in them. What are thriving are the strawberries and the cucumber plant.

The zucchini plant at this point I'm gonna call a gonner. All 3 seeds I planted next to it sprouted though, so hopefully one of those makes it into a viable plant. It should since it was sown outside.

Oh, and my potato plant finally got past the surface of the soil, starting to get little leaf buds popping up in the container! :D

Anyways, one plant that is thriving is the cucumber. It was questionable for a long time. Then out of no where, we woke up one day, and it had about doubled in size. And then a few days later, it had doubled in size again. It's growing massive and quickly!
[Click image to enlarge]

It is even starting to fruit already!
[Click image to enlarge]

[Click image to enlarge]

[Click image to enlarge]


The Roma tomato has really taken off too!
[Click image to enlarge]

That is from a few days ago, and looking at it today, its about 30-40% larger than that already! I pruned a whole bunch off of it today. The thing is growing like no ones business.

1 of the bell pepper plants is really producing a good sign pepper now. The one from earlier ended up dying and falling off. The bell pepper plants are really stressed looking though. I really think they are getting too much sun. But, that's the purpose of this journal, I'm learning and will know to try them in a different spot next year and see how they go.

The onions are growing a bit slow too. They look really stressed also. I pulled some soil back though, and they are producing some nice sized bulbs already! So they are still chugging away.

As a test, I had some onions that I started in a seed starter tray that I transplanted to one of the other beds with less sun. I will see if those do better with less sun, then I should have a pretty clear answer of where to plant my onions next year.

The salad bed is looking pretty pathetic. But I had a few lettuce sprouts in my seed starter tray too, so I decided to transplant them. Think it's too warm for these greens, but I'll try anyways.

And.. my watermelon plants are doing well.
Cantaloupe has sprouted, but it's going slow.

Blueberry bushes look like they might be producing berries! It's hard to tell if they are just going to stay as flower buds, or turn into berries.

And last but not least, the strawberry plants have been producing berries. For the 4 we have planted, it nets us about 1 strawberry per day on average lol! So not a great harvest but it's fun to pick a ripe one and try it :)

-Brandon
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Re: Claud The Backyard Farmer (self proclaimed)

Postby kingofnobbys » Thu May 21, 2020 9:34 pm

Claudiusx wrote:Well the mushrooms were a 1 day and done type of thing. Popped up, died, and never showed back up again. So I'm sure that fungus and decomposing mushroom material will just benefit the soil.

Some plants have been absoutely thriving. Others have been a bit more slow.

I really am coming to the conclusion that my mega L bed gets too much sun. Either that, or the past few weeks the sun has been way too intense. I can tell most of the plants are stressed in them. What are thriving are the strawberries and the cucumber plant.

<<< there's a job for your UV meter, measure the UV at the L shaped bed at noon , and same at the other beds, then get a scrap of shade cloth and check how much if diminishes the UV , if it's about where you think it needs to be (UV wize) maybe put a frame overtop the L shaped bed to shade the noon sun for a couple hours each side of true noon .
That's want a lot of gardeners do here ( less the Solarmeters ) , we get very harsh sunlight and very hot conditions here in summer .
<<< could also check the soil temperature at the surface and maybe 1" deep before installing the shade cloth cover , as the issue might be thermal stress rather than excessly intense sunlight.
<<< how are you monitoring soil dampness ?
If watering at wrong time then plants wont benefit.


The zucchini plant at this point I'm gonna call a gonner. All 3 seeds I planted next to it sprouted though, so hopefully one of those makes it into a viable plant. It should since it was sown outside.

Oh, and my potato plant finally got past the surface of the soil, starting to get little leaf buds popping up in the container! :D

Anyways, one plant that is thriving is the cucumber. It was questionable for a long time. Then out of no where, we woke up one day, and it had about doubled in size. And then a few days later, it had doubled in size again. It's growing massive and quickly!
[Click image to enlarge]

It is even starting to fruit already!
[Click image to enlarge]

[Click image to enlarge]

[Click image to enlarge]


The Roma tomato has really taken off too!
[Click image to enlarge]

That is from a few days ago, and looking at it today, its about 30-40% larger than that already! I pruned a whole bunch off of it today. The thing is growing like no ones business.

1 of the bell pepper plants is really producing a good sign pepper now. The one from earlier ended up dying and falling off. The bell pepper plants are really stressed looking though. I really think they are getting too much sun. But, that's the purpose of this journal, I'm learning and will know to try them in a different spot next year and see how they go.

The onions are growing a bit slow too. They look really stressed also. I pulled some soil back though, and they are producing some nice sized bulbs already! So they are still chugging away.

As a test, I had some onions that I started in a seed starter tray that I transplanted to one of the other beds with less sun. I will see if those do better with less sun, then I should have a pretty clear answer of where to plant my onions next year.

The salad bed is looking pretty pathetic. But I had a few lettuce sprouts in my seed starter tray too, so I decided to transplant them. Think it's too warm for these greens, but I'll try anyways.

And.. my watermelon plants are doing well.
Cantaloupe has sprouted, but it's going slow.

Blueberry bushes look like they might be producing berries! It's hard to tell if they are just going to stay as flower buds, or turn into berries.

And last but not least, the strawberry plants have been producing berries. For the 4 we have planted, it nets us about 1 strawberry per day on average lol! So not a great harvest but it's fun to pick a ripe one and try it :)

-Brandon


Any slugs / snails showing up at night to raid the greens ?
If they are they can devastate lettuce and cabbage plants.
CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : , Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Gutzy (F) rescued 27Sep19 - RIP 3Aug20 (est 12 yo), Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
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Re: Claud The Backyard Farmer (self proclaimed)

Postby Claudiusx » Fri May 22, 2020 7:23 am

Hmm that's a good thought about the heat, I was more assuming it was just the intesnity of the UV we've been getting.

Remmber last week I posted a picture of the surface temp of my bed at over 130? However an inch down it was in the 80/90 range, and even lower much cooler. The beds have been staying pretty moist an inch or two down, so I don't think it's water.

But, the UV from about 11-2pm has been constantly in the 7-9 range. I don't know anything about how much UV exposure is too much, or how hot surface temps can be, and what the soil temp should be an inch or two down.

I will do some research on that today.

And I have thought about the shade netting too, I think it might need to be a necessity for one part of the mega L where the peppers and onions are.

-Brandon
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Re: Claud The Backyard Farmer (self proclaimed)

Postby Claudiusx » Mon May 25, 2020 11:35 am

Well, I didn't really do any research like I said I was, but I like to blindly experiment sometimes anyways haha.

I bought some shade fabric rated to block 50-70% UV. I noticed they had one rated for 40-50% which I probably would have preferred, but it was an ugly color... and the one I picked up is a nice neutral tan.. LOL.

So, made a real simple rig to put up the shade cloth since i'm not sure I'll keep it forever. I really only need to make it last one season as next season I will only plant items in there I know can tolerate the sun (it only gets like 8 hours of sunlight anyways, but it's INTENSE sun! Everything I planted in it said it wanted full sun, but clearly, full sun isn't a very specific term..)

So I took some measurements firstly. These first measurements were done at about 11:30 AM. Sun almost directly overhead, but not quite.
[Click image to enlarge]

Huge amount of UV, and based on my previous testing, that UV hovers around 8-9 all the way until 2 PM usually. That's a lot of UV.
[Click image to enlarge]

Surface temp and soil temp about 2 inches down. As you've seen before, surface temps can easily get over 130 on this bed. I only let the thermometer sit for about 5 minutes.

Anyways, here's what I did. 4 posts sticking up and screwed into the beds supports. And then the shade cloth stapled to the top of it. Like I said, if I wanted this to be a permanent thing, I'd of done it differently, but this will be more than acceptable for the year.
[Click image to enlarge]

[Click image to enlarge]

[Click image to enlarge]


UVI reading with the shade cloth in place, now about noon:
[Click image to enlarge]

Much better! I don't know much (anything) about UV requirements for plants, but 3 is generally a pretty good number for most living things.
[Click image to enlarge]

Surface temp almost instantly dropped, within minutes. It's still dropping when I came inside, we will see what it settles at. I'd got to imagine this is much better for the plants too. I expect soil temp will drop a little bit once it gets a chance to cool off tonight.

So, I've also come to the realization that the cucumber can handle the full sun of that bed just fine, but the zucchini really can't. I've been having issues with it, I planted new seeds right next to it, and those are sprouted and growing, but now they are turning yellow too. Where as others I have growing in pots that I moved to the other bed with less sun, are fully green and doing great. So yes to cucumbers in that bed, no to zucchini. Also, the watermelon and cantaloupe plants I have in pots are sitting in that bed and doing just fine too. So next year, these beds will be for cucumbers, watermelon, cantaloupe, and I will try tomato in this bed too. Tomato will be an experiment as I don't have one this year to place in the bed to see how it will do.

Here are the Zucchinis, not doing good.
[Click image to enlarge]

Followed but the ones in pots in less sun:
[Click image to enlarge]

Huge difference in color. The growth is simply because they were started sooner, but those small ones in the beds won't grow most likely.
And to prove that the watermelon, cucumber, and cantaloupe are doing fine in that intense sun, here are more pics.
Watermelon plant with a cucumber plant just off to the side (you can barely see it in the pic)
[Click image to enlarge]


Cantaloupe
[Click image to enlarge]


Cucumbers! :D
[Click image to enlarge]


-Brandon
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