Weather presents us with many challenges.  Precipitation greatly affects how all of our crops grow.  There is very little that we can do when it rains too much, but we can fight drought condition, like we are having now, with irrigation.  Even when we are having more frequent rains many vegetables need to be supplemented with irrigation to get them the water that they need.  It takes a lot of time to keep up with all of the irrigation, but without it we would be unable to consistently grow your vegetables.

We use four types of irrigation:

  • The majority of our crops are irrigated using traveling guns (they shoot water not bullets).  We have five different traveling guns and it is not uncommon for three or four to be in use at once.  Our smallest can water half an acre in one run, while our largest can water over 6 acres in one run.  This type of irrigation is mobile and gets moved to the area that needs to be watered. The cart is put in place and the gun, which is a very large sprinkler, is pulled out.  The gun is retracted using the water that is traveling through it.

Irrigation gun in action

Traveling gun irrigating garlic and potatoes

Tractor pulling out the irrigation gun

  • We only have one center pivot, but it covers a lot of area.  The center pivot is stationary and irrigates about 12 acres.  Ours is a very small one, large ones will irrigate over 200 acres.  This type of irrigation waters very evenly and is very easy to use.  It is has a computerized control panel that can be programmed to irrigate according to our needs.

The radius of the center pivot sweeps across the field

Potatoes flowering under center pivot

  • Our newest irrigation implement is a traveling boom.  This is the same as the traveling gun, but with misters on a boom instead of one large sprinkler.  This gives a gentler spray, which is good for germinating seeds and gives a even soft irrigation like the center pivot.

Traveling boom irrigating lettuce plants

  • The final type of irrigation that we use is drip irrigation.  We use drip irrigation in conjunction with plastic mulch.  We lay plastic T-tape under the plastic mulch, the T-tape slowly emits water.  This form of irrigation is very efficient since there is no loss to evaporation.

Rows of melons grown in plastic mulch. Drip tape is laid under the plastic mulch to irrigate the melon plants.

Drip tape connected to the hose at the end of a row of melons

In the month of June, we have had a total of one/quarter inch of rain.  So without the irrigation machines the harvest the season would have been greatly reduced.

Jesse and Jonnah