We use as little water as possible on the farm. One of the ways we do this with our summer squash and melon crop is with drip irrigation. The black tube runs along the line of where the crop is planted. It has pathways built into the tube which regulates how much water drips out every foot, along it’s 600’ length. We use 7/8th inch diameter tape as we run such long lengths, and we want the water to be uniform along its whole path.
We sow the seed and then lay this drip tubing directly over them. This tube was used last year and wound onto a special reel to save it. We get about two years use out of it. There is a company now that will recycle it, so we are hoping not to have to send the used tape to the dump this year.
Jose turns on the water, and after a week the crop germinates. He gives it another dose of water and then Ramon comes along with the tractor and a couple of guys to cultivate between the rows and eliminate weeds. We then hoe between the plants, removing unwanted crops plants and weeds.
This is where the crop is now. The drip line will stay until the it is finished and we wind it back down the row onto the reel.
Drip irrigation does not work for every crop, especially ones we want to explore the whole profile of the soil. We use sprinklers on potatoes, sweet potatoes and many other crops. Crops can soon use up the narrow band of soil and its nutrients under the drip lines. Chemical farmers use drip lines to constantly feed the plants with fertilizer. We have been sussing drip lines here for over 20 years.