When Ralph has this house built, he had lawn sprinklers installed, retracting RainBirds, which must have been state of the art way back then. He stopped using them, or they failed and he never repaired them... anyway, they fell into complete disrepair. Sometime someone must have bought him a "dripper starter kit", which got deployed but never connected permanently to anything like a tap, which subsequently filled with dirt, and was effectively ruined. A fine mess.
Seeking to prevent the green things that live in the garden from going brown,
we have installed sprinklers. The cost of sprinkling systems is
not so bad here: $18 for a four-circuit electronic controller, $10
for a solenoid tap, $30 for 500 feet of half-inch pipe. We now have
two solenoid taps at the front with their own controller, and about
200 feet of pipe layed through the beds. At the back there is another
controller, and so far there are two solenoids controlling two
pipes covering the beds, about 500 feet of mainline 13mm hose.
One side is mostly the orchard, the new
vegetable patch, etc. The other is mostly flower beds.
There is already another tap for the lawn sprinklers, and provision for yet another. The lawn system is proving painful... the buried hose, from the old system is either untraceable or where located, seems to be beyond repair. More news as it is available.
In the mean time, the vegetable patch is under way. The picture is taken from the balcony. The patch is about 6' x 15'. You may observe in this image the small wall that surrounds the official area. This is a wall constructed of copper-based composite strip about 4" high, 1.5" buried, 2.5" high above ground, as an anti-snail-and-slug measure. It is augmented with a kind of copper sticky tape that seals gaps, and protects the trellis mounts. We wanted pure copper, but found this composite and no suitable pure metal strip, so we thought we would try it out.
I have also put the tape around the trunk of the lime,
which is now not being eaten as fast as it tried to grow.
It will be interesting to see if this whole copper thing works effectively.
I have found a snail halted at the ring on the lime, but it may not last.
We have also noticed that the garden ants (we encourage ants and spiders) are universally using the sprinkler pipes that run over the top of the soil as a kind of superhighway. They have a continual two-way traffic on every bit of the 700 feet of it so far deployed. Fascinating. The picture at the right is a close-up of 13mm tubing, showing the typical traffic density. This density, about 1 ant/inch in either direction, is present all the time, throughout the garden. We reckon we must have increased ant efficiency 20% in one move. Think of it, that is 10-20 kiloants now travelling at double the speed they could previously achieve. There are ants to be found on the branches of all major fruit trees (whose trunks all intersect the highway). These guys may chomp a few leaves, but they do not seem to be detrimental to the plants, and I hope they are giving shoot-nibbling insects hell.