Food Chain Farm


Because water is scarce and expensive, and it is one of the most important factors in the health of your plants - irrigation is the first thing you plan for when starting a garden in So Cal.   You must know as much as possible about each plant and deliver just the amount of water it needs.

You quickly become familiar with all your options and planning your irrigation system is quite a ritual.  Mostly, it’s like playing with legos – there are hundreds of parts; plastic tubing and plastic emitters which you string together to bring exactly the right amount of water directly to each plant.   On our 3 tillable acres we have around 30 fruit trees and 25 raised beds with rotating vegetable crops.  That means hundreds of feed of plastic tubing running everywhere like black spaghetti.   You no longer run around the property with a hose – instead you run around checking your irrigation systems.  A leak? Disaster as the water pressure pushes the water out like a geyser.  A clogged emitter and no water coming through means a dead plant.   You wind up doing a lot of repairs and replacement to keep it all going.

(pictures of the new irrigation system)

The other important piece of equipment to keep it all going is the irrigation timer.  This battery-powered unit is a much simpler version of what farmers use out here.  They are pretty sophisticated and can be programmed to customize water delivery.  For instance, we are trying a 3 times a day for 5 minutes system for fruit trees and vegetables. I find that the plants really like the watering to be very predictable and the timer does the trick  (until it stops working, of course – they require constant monitoring also).

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