Watering the Garden

40 quarts of water.

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That’s what it takes to keep my garden’s thirsty tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, lettuce, beans, herbs and lemon happy each day.  I have a hose, but most days I make 20 trips out to the pool deck carrying my 2-quart pitcher.  I’m not sure why I do this…I spent much of my career as an efficiency coach after all.

I like to slow down and check on the plants as I give them water, seeing how they’ve grown overnight.  I admire their beautiful dark green leaves and count their flowers and fruit.  On the more practical side, I look for any signs of stress or pests.

If I don’t water them by 10 am each morning, they tell me I’m the worst person in the world.  Even if I’m an hour or two late, they start sagging in this sun-filled warm Florida ‘spring’ weather.

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Poor Magic!

The plants aren’t drinking all the water I give them.

I need to do something to keep the water from evaporating.  Adding mulch and more more compost will help….but the biggest idea I’ve had lately to keep my veggies happy is to add an irrigation system.

We used a drip system in our garden at our last house.  We were a bit intimidated about installing it ourselves, but found it surprisingly easy to set up.  So yesterday, I headed over to Home Depot.

Irrigation systems aren’t where you’d expect to find them.

I spent a while wandering around, looking where I thought they logically would be in the gardening section next to the hoses, but silly me…. Don’t you know that irrigation systems are located in ‘Plumbing’?

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Home Depot, Bed Bath and Beyond, Staples and Toys R Us all do the same mesmerizing thing to me.  

There is just too much too look at.  I get distracted as I walk down the aisles and often find myself forgetting why I went there in the first place.  How many toilets does a store need??

Finally, I find the irrigation system aisle and see there is a patio watering kit–Perfect!  I buy a few extra pieces, then wander over to the Command Hooks section to see if I can find something to help me hold the tubing in place without damaging the pool enclosure.  I find some clear hooks designed to be used outdoors to hang Christmas lights.  Amazing!  My ¼ inch tubing will snap in perfectly!

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I also buy a 2-hose automatic timer, which is the most expensive part of my system.  Entire cost is less than $100.

I arrive home, intending to install the system without Rob’s help.

I like to tinker and figure out things myself.  While Rob gets frustrated by such things, I like the challenge of fixing the vacuum cleaner or toilet, taking apart a broken lamp or cleaning my sewing machine.  He’s better with setting up electronic systems, putting together furniture and shampooing carpeting.  These are things you learn about each other after 30+ years of marriage.

I start by installing the timer and hose, which goes pretty smoothly.  I notice a drip when I turn the faucet on.  Well, I guess I need to go back to Home Depot to get a silicone washer….

I start attaching Command hooks and threading the hose through along the base of the house.  Looks good!

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Then I start having trouble.  

I cut the hose and prepare to put a ‘T’ on it to send a line over to the tomatoes. My hands aren’t strong enough to push the ‘T’ onto the hose.  No matter how hard I push, the fitting won’t go on.  Sigh.  Rob’s ending his workday anyway, so he gets up readily when I ask him for help.

We get into an easy rhythm…

I prep the Command hooks and get the parts ready as he puts the system together.  This is much easier with two people, we move along quickly and I know why I married my sweet husband.  We seem to do well when we work on a challenge together.  We are a good team.

A bit more effort and a few Command hooks and “T” fittings later and we have an irrigation system.  We test it and after a bit of tweaking, the system works!

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I set the timer to go at 7 tomorrow morning and I’ll check it to makes sure it’ll do the job.

I’m relieved to get this task done and thankful I have such a sweet partner to help me.

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