The Challenge of The Year!!

Linda_PA5(PA5)September 25, 2001

At least for me it is! I was asked to do some flower bed landscaping at my Church, Have put in three different beds of shrubs and perinals. THE PROBLEM and THE CHALLENGE--two of these areas are under roof overhang and gets zero water from rain. I have been carting milk jugs of water daily to keep them alive. Coupled with this, the ground in one of these areas is not even dirt, its rock sold clay. In the next month I plan to amend, amend and amend some more with leaves, coffee grounds and anything else I can get my hands on. But I really need to figure out a way to get rain water to take care of these babies so I'm not breaking my back come spring.

What I'm thinking is to burn the end of soaker hose to the side of a cut off milk jug or buckett of some sort. Bury the jug in a part of the area that does get rain and weave the hose through the planted area. I suppose fill the jug with small stone of some sort and cover with mesh screen to keep the skeeters out. Hopefully the rain will fill the jug and run out the hose, although not sure it will provide enough pressure to get all the way to the end. In dry spells can just fill the jug rather that try to water the individual plants.

What do you think? Any other way to elaborate on this plan, or any other thoughts? The bed sits on the corner of the building, I put the plants as close to the edge of the overhang as possible but could not avoid being under it some. After two days of a really great rain, I looked this AM and many of the plants were still bone dry. They are drought tolerant plants so once established should be ok, but even at that, the do need water sometime.

Hope this is considered a topic for the experiment forum, it sure is an experiment for me and didn't think it fit in any better with the other forums. Really appreciate your input, Thank You Linda ö¿ö

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claudia4499_hotmail_com

All I have to add is that perhaps you could but the jug or bucket or whatever you use underneath the downspout. That way you would know you are getting a good amount of water even if it only rains a little.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2001 at 3:27PM
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alfie_md6

For that matter, how about a rainbarrel? Then maybe you could put a spigot in the rainbarrel, attach the soaker hose, and then, after a rain, open the spigot a little bit and let the water seep out through the soaker hose?

I'm also wondering if you aren't going to have to hose the plants off every now and then. In my experience, plants during a drought (i.e., with no water falling on them from the sky) get dusty and unhappy, even if their roots are getting enough water.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2001 at 10:03AM
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Linda_PA5(PA5)

Thanks Claudia and Alfie, both really good thoughts. An occassional hosing I don't mind and will be happy to do; just hate to miss out on good old mother nature to do what she can to save my back. Thanks again for your thoughts. Linda ö¿ö

    Bookmark   September 26, 2001 at 2:25PM
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weedlady(Central OH 6)

Hey, Linda, I just had an idea! Have you seen those hole-y green plastic hoses that attach to the base of a downspout? They remain (more or less) rolled up near the base of the spout until it rains, then unroll several feet from the pressure of the running water and allow the water to emerge like one of those sprinkler hoses. (You can punch more holes as needed so the water can get down and out quickly enough during a gully-washer.) Then they roll back up again afterward! (There are pre-coiled wires running along inside) My thought is that you get the church to invest in whatever length of downspout and the elbows you need at each end of the building to get the water headed in the direction you want it, then add these hose attachments to the ends. (I hope I am explaining this clearly!) You just need to position the plantings so that the hose can unroll between them. My hubby added ours this summer and I had to sacrifice a few annuals to make room. But it took care of the problem we had with all that water spurting out in one spot and irrigated my flowers besides! E-mail me if you need more info. CK

    Bookmark   September 29, 2001 at 8:51AM
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ponderthis(6 sw ct)

Linda:

How big is each garden area? Is the ground flat? Here's an idea, If you can add soil to the part that is in the rain to raise it about 2" above the inside edge (under the overhang) then use your hoe to make channels (in the soil) to the base of each planting (channels should be 3" wide by 2" deep) then cover with a black plastic sheet, putting small gravel in the channels you made (to hold it down) then cover the whole thing with a mulch (to hide plastic, etc.). When it rains the water will "find" the channels & run towards the base of each plant. The plastic will do double duty by keeping some of that precious water from evaporating and the mulch covers it all from sight. I hope I explained it OK. This idea would be easier to do before anything was planted, but it might be worth a try.

Good Luck,

Paul

    Bookmark   October 2, 2001 at 1:58PM
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quirkpod(7 Lewisville NC)

Soaker hoses need water pressure to work.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2001 at 9:31AM
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serge-8_webtv_net

The try I made at attaching soaker hose to a container, a 55 gallon barrel happening to have a built in spigot at the bottom, was a complete bust despite my following the instructions from a state cooperative extension bulletin.
I had the rubber type of soaker hose, and there apparently wasn't pressure enough to get a drop of moisture through it.

Talk about disappointment, not so much on my part but on the part of the poor strawberries which got no water at all for a couple months (really didn't rain more than about .15 of an inch for two solid months). So much for blind faith in extension service publications and ideas that look so good in them.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2001 at 12:59AM
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deb29

Why not start where mother nature begins. What the heck....how big is this over hang....if it that hugh not much sun....and when the building needs to be maintained where do the workers stand etc. Think more ahead. Your doing a great thing but you'll be moving on.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2001 at 3:26PM
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KAYGARDENER(BAY AREA--CALIF)

I SAW A PBS GARDENING SPECIAL ON 1)RAIN COLLECTION IN A BARREL FROM THE GUTTER DOWNSPOUTS IDEA... I NOTICED HE HAD HIS BARREL ON A PLATFORM OF BRICKS ABOUT 4"-6" HIGHER THAN THE PLANTING BED SO THE ROLLOUT SOAKER HOSE WAS FED BY GRAVITY, WHEN HE RELEASED THE RESTRICTOR CLAMP ON THE HOSE... OTHERWISE, COULD YOU GET THE WATERFLOW STARTED BY SYPHONING/ SUCTIONING THRU A HOSE, TO WATER YOUR BEDS-- WOULD THIS HELP YOU??? ANYONE WHO VOLUNTEERS TO GARDEN FOR OTHERS DESERVES EXTRA CREDIT & APPLAUSE---3 CHEERS TO YOU,K.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2003 at 2:44AM
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daisy_ny6(z6 NY)

No rainbarrel will work without rain.

I have one hooked up to a downspout. There is a solid hose attached to the tap that runs down a gentle slope for about 15 feet to where it is hooked up to a soaker hose which snakes about some pieris and hostas. The tap is always open.

This worked really well even during the drought (north-east drought means 4 inches for June through mid-September, it's all relative). Until someone repointed the chimney and washed all the mortar down the gutters into the rainbarrel. First the alkalinity nearly killed the pieris, then the mortar clogged the soaker hose.

So it's true that the soaker hose needs water pressure, but on a short run, 1/2 - 5/8 inch inside diameter doesn't need that much. This year, I'm going to raise some on to cinderblocks to get the height necessary.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2003 at 8:36AM
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brskovich(z8 OR)

It sounds labor intensive but you could take a needle and poke some extra holes in the soaker hose, more holes mean less pressure is required, of course. Good Luck.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2003 at 12:00AM
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greenman_zn5b

How about using one of those old sattelite receivers you see in everybodies backyard./ , fit over arain barrel ,it would increase surface area and reduce time in filling, hence stronger back pressure and more efficient water delivery .

    Bookmark   March 22, 2003 at 1:52PM
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mocountryboys(5b/6a)

you could make a free-flow soaker hose, I believe....I've seen methods of using an old hose, poking holes in it with a hot ice pick, and wrap with scrap cloth. If you poke a lot of holes, it shouldn't need all that much pressure to release the water, but you may want to put fewer holes at th end nearest your water source, and more at the other end, to make sure that water makes it all the way to the end.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2003 at 8:09PM
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ken_mce(zone 4, NY)

Hi Linda,

I also do the gardening for a church, and I also have overhangs. Based on your post, I am wondering if you thought this project out before you started it. Are you absolutely required to put the plants in the worst possible locations? You are going to be the prisoner of these beds for as long as you are around, and when you are not around they will die, leaving no benefit to the church from your work.

Besides, it is never (in PA) a good idea to bring more water up against the foundation of the building. Maintenance won't like it. Can't you put down a nice bland mulch in the rain shadow, maybe a bench or a statue or a niche or something if you want it fancy, and move the plants out to where god can water them when he wants to?

    Bookmark   April 26, 2003 at 9:31PM
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weebus(Z8 Sunset 5 WA)

Why not just do a low volume irrigation line and have a plumber in the church tithe some time to hook it to the supply line? Low cost and low time invested and you have happy flowers.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2003 at 1:07PM
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