How to Install a Micro-Irrigation System
Micro-irrigation systems target water to specific areas in your garden, and each system can be tailored to provide a slow drip or a spray pattern over small or large areas. You place the emitters where you want them, connecting them to the main hose with small-diameter “spaghetti hoses.” Some kits come with half-inch diameter main hoses, but a three-quarter-inch diameter hose provides better water pressure.
The cost of a micro-irrigation system is much cheaper than an in-ground irrigation system, and it can be attached to a timer, if desired. Components for a micro-irrigation system can be bought at big-box stores and at many local nurseries. One advantage of buying at a local nursery? The staff will explain installation to you.
Decide where you want sprinkler heads placed. Attach a faucet connector to one end of your hose and attach it to your outdoor spigot. Wind the hose around your plants. When you reach the end of the hose, bend it back over itself and attach the two section clamp.
Place each emitter where you want it. Some come with “spaghetti hoses”. For others, you’ll have to attach the “spaghetti hose” to the emitter, then use a hose-punch to create a hole in the main hose for the other end of the connector hose. Make a mistake? Use “goof plugs.”
There are a variety of connectors available to extend hoses that were cut too short, and Y- and T-connectors to send the water off in two different directions. Some of them have simple valves to shut off the stream on one side.
Once your hoses are in place, turn on the water so you can adjust each emitter to the speed and volume you prefer. Then cover your system of hoses with mulch.
Armored and Slightly Dangerous It’s hard to muster sympathy for the poor armadillo. Its homely appearance brings to mind a possum wearing armor, and its tendency to tear up your lawn and garden beds as it forages for food can be exasperating. But armadillos do serve a purpose: They eat a lot of worms and insects, including cockroaches, ants, wasps, grasshoppers and yellow jackets. There are a few things you can do to try to repel armadillos. Lay chicken wire around plantings you want to protect and cover it with mulch. Build a fence around your beds that extends 18 inches into the soil and 24 inches above ground, and angle it outward slightly to discourage climbing. Armadillos are nocturnal creatures with poor vision and hearing, but they have a keen sense of smell. Some people have had success deterring them with strong-scented plants such as lantana and copper canyon daisies (Tagetes lemmonii). The fall months are usually fairly dry, and watering your lawn and garden late in the day can attract armadillos because the soil is easier to penetrate. Water early in the day to avoid creating a welcoming environment. Or, water an area farther away from your valued plantings to entice the armadillo to dig there.
Your Monthly Garden Chores
- Divide clumping perennials such as daylilies, crinum lilies, irises and agapanthus now.
- Collect seeds from summer-blooming flowers for next spring. Allow the flowers to form seed-heads, shake the seeds out onto a sheet of newspaper and let them dry. Turn the seeds daily. Store in airtight containers in a cool, dry closet or other dark place.
- Buy spring-flowering bulbs as soon as they become available to get the best selection, then store them for planting in November.
- Plant your fall vegetable garden: broccoli, cabbage, carrots, collards, arugula, lettuce, leeks, turnips, radishes, mustard, beets, kale, Swiss chard and green onions.
- A late crop of summer vegetables such as tomatoes and cucumbers can be planted early in the month.
- This is the best time to plant trees and shrubs in our area.
- Plant cool-weather herbs such as parsley, dill, sage and cilantro.
- Plant cool-season flowers such as pansies, snapdragons, dianthus and petunias now.