Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Delmar the Toad and Irrigation

Slight chance of rain tonight, slight chance on Saturday. There are transplants that need watering. I started yesterday hauling out sprinklers and such and opening up my water outlets throughout the garden.
The cover says, "Irrigation Control Valve" -- it's really a
faucet in the ground with a lever rather than a handle.
There's an outlet in the lower left corner, hardly noticeable.
Not only does it make mowing easier, there is no worry
in winter about faucets freezing.
I was reading about the late Alan Bloom last night and how he had a 6 acre garden and then carved out another 6 acre garden for his son on the property next to him. I thought, "Oh, I could just go back behind the pecan trees and start a brand-new 6 acre garden with island beds just like Dell Gardens and Foggy Bottom at Bressingham Gardens."

Oh, wait! I'm more than 70 years old. I still have to get the Virginia Creeper vines out of my Gingers bed under the  Live Oak. There's more to do than I can get done and I'm looking out there at a meadow that requires only mowing.

My last meadow trial was not exactly a whopping success and it was only the footprint of the old barn. It's grass now.

The Meadow Experiment is here: Meadow Experiment

Four pipe manifold. Different connectors allow
 attaching hoses and control from the pipe or individually.

It took me half a day to get my in-ground water outlets opened and functional. The first one had the soil fluffed up about 4 inches above the lever that turns on the water. I dug out a 5 gallon bucket half full of sandy dirt before I was satisfied to try to turn on any water.
The connection here is capped. A hose could be attached
here. I use a standpipe in most of them so I can have
a Y or a manifold for more than one hose.

On the next one, I discovered what fluffs up the soil. There were 3 holes in the dirt. When I started digging, guess who I dug up? Delmar the Toad. This is a new Delmar.
Big Delmar is sitting in a flower pot in the greenhouse where only two of the Duranta cuttings I stuck rooted. This week I discovered why. Delmar. Delmar has not left this flower pot in several days. He's a good pest controller for the greenhouse and the cat won't chase him like he does the anoles.

Outlet open and standpipe attached. Hoses
attach to the Y.
I think little Delmar's hideout was where I found the spider, too. It was the biggest spider I ever saw: pale beige with a body the size of a Palmetto bug. Legs and all he was the size of a half dollar. I liberated him with my trowel and set him free in the grass to find a new home and eat lots of hateful bugs.
Some of my sprinklers. The tall ones have a hose
bib either at the bottom or near the top.
There's a spike so they can be pushed into the ground.
The green thing is a meter attached to a standpipe.
Pushing a spiked sprinkler pipe into the ground isn't always easy. He-who-mows put PVC pipe into the ground where the spike can just plug in. Some of the pipes are at the edge of beds where they don't have to be moved for mowing but I still mark them because they get
covered with mulch or plants grow over them when the sprinklers are removed for winter.
How can you find a piece of 3/4" pipe in the grass at ground level?
Flags. In the front garden I have fancy metal stakes like this one.
In the upper garden I use old electric fence posts.
Some time back I bought a kit with 100' of hose and attachements for drip irrigation. Later today we will lay all that out for irrigating the grapevines and blueberries. Funny, they provide 100' of tubing and then the instructions say to use only 50 feet.
Ending with something pretty. Purple Coneflowers and California Poppies.
I pulled up a California Poppy yesterday. They have a big orange taproot
that looks almost like a slender carrot.
The monsters behind are Red Hot Poker foliage, Carefree Delight rose and
the trunks of a tree-form Vitex.
I have to go now and count my garden hoses and decide who goes where. I found two old soaker hoses in a flower bed, pulled them out and tested them; they are still good. Have the drilled pipes that attach to hoses ready . There is no end to the ways to put water on plants and not every plant has the same needs.
What's on your water agenda?  


  1. I know the Delmars are great for the garden, but they scare me to death! So far I've encountered three this year about the size of Delmar...I tell them to stay where they are, then I go the other way!!

  2. You are very organized with your watering!

    I have 4 hydrants with frost-free tops in the area around the house and buildings but still find myself dragging hose whenever I have to water. I wish I could just leave it in place but "she" who mows would probably cut it in half.

    Don't expand your gardens....speaking as another over 70 (74 to be exact) gardener, you will be sorry. I am looking to mow over some beds this year because of the invasion of cheatgrass! It is hard to resist I know. I have an order waiting to punch the send button to Stark Brothers for more fruit trees an blackberries.....and let my neighbor deliver several elephant ear bulbs to me yesterday. If I break off a shoot of something I stick it in the ground and hate to toss any 'extra' seedlings when I have planted all I is a sickness.

  3. What is scary about a toad, Christy? There is the surprise factor, yes. They won't hurt you but they will make the dog sicker than a dog if he tries to bite one.

    Glenda, I'm not going to expand out any further; it was just a fleeting thought. Good thin He-who-mows likes to mow. There's a big field between where my fruits stop and the peanut field begins. Sometimes I add on to the end of a bed but I compensate by taking 6 feet out of the middle of another. I always save every little broken piece, too. I noticed a little sucker beside one of the blueberry bushes this morning -- it can go in the spot where one died several years ago. Oh, it's all fun.

  4. I agree with Christy about the Toads. But I have an understanding with my
    Toads they stay out of my way I stay out of theirs. I do have one crazy dog that will chew on them and get all foamy at the mouth but he has never been sick...the other dogs leave them alone.

  5. You are 70 years old? You have a wonderful garden-it must surely keep you young. Blogging too. It's pretty neat how you have the water set up. Once we are settled in our new land I will remember how to mark the faucets if we go that way. We might since we'll be on a well-no large water bill. Yeah! Enjoy your spring. Hopefully we'll get enough rain this summer that you don't have to supplement with the water.

  6. Wow... nice post. thanks for sharing it..irrigation supplies warwick qld


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I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.

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