Please help!

rachcAugust 19, 2010

Hello, I am new to the forum, though I have been on here many times in my search for a beautiful garden! I have a couple issues and I did look on the FAQ's but didn't see a direct answer to some of my questions, hopefully someone out there can help with at least some of them.

First, we built a concrete raised bed along the whole back of our yard, it is filled with a mix soil. All of our drip system irrigation was already in place from existing landscape so that is the first problem. We have a mix of vegetables, herbs, annuals and some shrubs in the raised bed. All of the drippers are the adjustable kind. My problem is the watering, it seems like if I set the watering for a few days a week and more time, everything is on death's door, so we bumped it up to 6 days a week for 35 minutes which I think is too much. What is the best way to water with a less than perfect system already in place?

Next, my pepper plants are snapping in half! They were looking pretty good and actually starting to produce a few peppers and now half of them are snapping in the center of the stalk. Any ideas?

Lastly, is it too late to plant a few vinca in pots? I got a bunch of coco lined wall hangers and planted vinca and half of them are wilted and dying, I'm wondering how much moisture is retained since it seems like it all just drips out the bottom. I should have lined them with something but didn't read that until after I planted.

Thanks in advance for any help!! I am a true beginner and I've already killed half of my vegetables but I'm going to keep trying and hopefully learn from my mistakes.

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what else are you growing do you shade your plants here everything struggles right now some people shade and mist i don't i just water and prune the dead foliage and hope it all suvives the summer so i can get a fall for the peppers breaking in half was it that storm we had that wind can get pretty ugly depending on what side of towm you're on.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 11:41AM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

Hi there, welcome to the forum! It sounds like you just need to continue experimenting with the duration/timing and output of your irrigation system. During this time of year, watering daily, or almost daily is almost required for a veggie garden in full sun. When you say adjustable, it sounds like you mean the emitters can be turned to release more or less water, right? If so, then the frequent watering but with them turned down to release less water might work. It sounds like you just need to play around a bit more.

Some of my friends switched their drip emitters to narrow ooze tubes for their veggies and they love them, and some others use the spaghetti lines that have small pin holes evrey inch or three too. The only "trick" with those is to make sure a hole is near a plant. I'm sure some other folks will chime in with tips, but if your veggie garden is in full sun (great in winter, not so much in summer) then frequent watering is going to be necessary.

It's definitely not too late to plant vincas, they love heat and transplant well. Those coco/coir planters are neat but as you say, they leak, LOL. I line mine with a plastic grocery bag and cut just a couple of holes in THAT to allow drainage, that way the water doesn't all rush right through.

Good luck and keep us posted. I do a fair bit of veggies in autumn, winter and spring, but not a lot in summer--just some herbs and cukes and melons.

Take care,

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 11:26AM
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I just switched my watering to every other day for 55 minutes and turned all the drips so they are a steady drip, the veggies are all on the short sprayer heads. We'll see how that does for a few days.
I'll have to try the grocery bag trick in the coco liners once I plant my winter annuals.
I pruned the pepper plants that were falling over so hopefully the others will hang on. Do they generally produce the first year? I assumed they were annual veggies but a friend of mine said hers came back strong the second season.
Thanks for your input!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 11:35AM
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For vegetable beds or annual flower beds I like to use the spaghetti tubing that has emitters built in. This is 1/4 inch flexible tubing and the emitters each dispense 1/2 gallons per hour. Some manufacturers, like Toro, space the emitters every 6 inches and others every 12 inches. I place the tubing in rows about 6-8 inches apart - so in a bed three feet across I'll use 3 or 4 lines of tubing. This is different than the lazer drilled 1/4 inch tubing which is prone to clogging.

I run my system for 15 minutes once every three days which keeps the soil uniformly moist - of course I mulch pretty heavily and that helps hold moisture. I have 50 percent shade cloth over the garden in summer too. If I'm trying to germinate seeds, I'll run it once a day or every other day until they sprout.

The micro sprays loose too much water to evaporation and can contribute to some fungal diseases like rhizoctonia if you're not careful.

I hope this helps.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 12:15PM
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T-tape is considered to be the best for proper irrigation without over watering.

There are lots of places that sell it and its easy to install. Its meant to be installed under the soil level or if you mulch under the mulch may work too.

Here is a link that might be useful: T-tape

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 12:52PM
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rachc,peppers will produce the first year and will overwinter at least here in the valley with frost protection. Mine were planted Apr. 09 and produced ok but have really outdone themselves this year, producing large crops steadily even through the intense heat this summer. My sweet gypsys are still loaded as is the almost 5 ft. jalapeno and 1 Joe E Parker chili is the most prolific plant I've ever seen. I planted a Marconi transplant mid May and it's producing well although the peppers aren't as large as advertised. I'm hoping to keep them going through the winter again and see how well they do as they age. Hope yours hang on and should produce better as it cools off and maybe they'll make it til spring and really take off. Good luck

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 2:15PM
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The T-tape would be great but the problem is that we only have 2 zones running off our system, one for the grass and one for everything else, which includes desert landscape, some small palms, hibiscus and our flowers, veggies and herbs.

The problem with running another zone is the system is on the complete other side and in front of the house, and since it was first put in we have added a pool, decking, firepit, etc. and to run another zone I am guessing would be quite costly, maybe I'm wrong. Any other possible solutions?
I wish I would have found this forum before we started the whole garden process!! I just figured we could just run another drip line (which we did) for all of the permanant raised beds and it would be fine, I think I made a major boo boo.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 6:54PM
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