It has been a long time coming, but our new irrigation system is finally complete, and just in time for the summer!
The team at the MBET would like to thank everyone who helped us get this up and running, especially to our friends Andrea and Matt from TCDC for showing us how the system works and helping us to set it up.
What and Why?
What is an irrigation system and why should we use it?
Here at MBET these were important questions for us to ensure we understood what we were doing and why! We wanted to use a system that was effective but also to ensure we weren't wasting any water. After all we are an Environmental Trust so a sustainable system was essential!
An irrigation system is simply an automated watering system for plants/crops and is commonly used in places with low or seasonal rainfall. The water is brought in via pipelines, and distributed via sprinklers or drippers that can be controlled. E.g. Set the timer, choose the days and length of time for watering to happen.
So, why did we install this system? We find that being involved in a variety of different projects doesn't leave us much time to water all our natives. After all we do have thousands of them! So having an easy-to-use system that takes the hassle out of watering is important as it allows us devote more time to other projects .
Shade House Irrigation
Our shade house is where we nurse all our little seedlings so it is important that they are getting enough water, especially throughout the summer, without getting damaged by large water droplets.
We run an overhead sprinkler system inside the shade house which can be run for short periods, several times a day if that is what is required. The sprinkler system creates a soft rain over the plants, meaning our little plants get the water they need but are not at risk from over watering or damage from more powerful sprinklers.
Because they are exposed to the elements, especially the summer heat, our native plants need regular water.
These natives are a lot stronger and more established than our shade house plants. Because of this and the size of the nursery we run these pop up sprinklers which are more powerful and throw larger droplets, greater distances.
You can set these sprinklers to the range you require, for example a majority of ours are set to travel an 180 degree span. We can adjust the spray rate by changing the nozzle and we check how even the system is watering by setting up buckets at different places in the nursery to measure and compare how much water is falling in different places.
It is important to note that no watering system is foolproof, and we will have to remain watchful to make sure it is operating properly and that no areas are being missed.