For the first time in 15 years of gardening I’ve installed drip irrigation. And perhaps I’m a johnny-come-lately to this technology that many people have already discovered, but even at that, it’s worth sharing the experience I’ve had converting my vegetable garden into a high-performance farm. It would never have happened had I not stumbled upon a farmer who preaches as gospel the benefits of drip irrigation.
In our June issue we wrote about Thayne Tagge, who grows nearly every edible produce item that can be grown in Northern Utah. Peaches are his forte. But he also grows peas, beans, tomatoes, corn, blackberries, pears, melons, raspberries, plums and cherries. Tagge told me since changing over to drip irrigation he is using 70 percent less water, and the government even paid for his system through a farm subsidy program. So essentially, the government paid farmer Tagge to save money to reduce water consumption. He then told me he has convinced nearly every other major farmer in Perry, Utah to also make the conversion. And, “Hallelujah they have seen the truth!” he says.
I’ve always fancied myself a savvy gardener, but I’ve been doing it the old fashioned way for years. I hand water my grow beds and vegetables using my hose. After he showed me all the benefits, Tagge sold me all the necessary parts and accessories, told me in a nutshell how to set it up and, with around a $120 investment in PVC pipe, the drip tape, water pressure converter, 12 irrigation on/off nozzles and valves and about four hours of work: I converted my entire 20 x by 40 foot garden to a much easier drip system. This summer, June and July were scorching hot. Normally, very hot days require about 10 minutes of watering per bed and around 40 minutes total. Using a drip irrigation system, water is fed directly to the plants roots and about 15 minutes is all that was required each day for my entire garden.
Besides the garden, we have quite a bit of lawn area. Last year I had two months where my bill exceeded $100. This summer my water bill never exceeded $60. So already the system has nearly paid for itself. This was probably one of the greatest Eureka! moments I’ve ever had in my garden, and I’m grateful for Mr. Tagge for sharing the gospel of drip irrigation with me. Everyone should convert! And praise God that someone invented drip!