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Aug 15, 2010

For just over a year I have watered with soaker hoses - the rubberized hoses that have weep holes all over.  I got them on special and they must have been quite old then as they have rapidly deteriorated, and one section had a lot of areas that had been repaired with electrical tape.  Then it began to kink and break, so I knew something had to  be done.  I found some deep irrigation spikes on the clearance rack in Bunnings, our big hardware store down in Cairns, and snapped them up. 


I didn't have a very clear plan of what I was going to do, but figured that since I got the spikes regularly 10.00 a box for 2.00 a box, I was well on the way to creating a thrifty long lasting irrigation system.  While digging out the heleconias I had removed all the remaining weed mat (something I will never use again!) and also the broken pieces of soaker hose.  Thinking I needed to buy some irrigation pipe at some stage to join all the spikes together I sat down to work out what else was needed to get the system working.  Lo and behold I discovered it would work with some of the excess hoses my neighbour had given me!  Wow! 




 I poked holes in the ground and measured the distance to the next spike and then hubby would attach it and pass it back to me, and soon we had the hose snaking around and the spikes buried deep next to the bigger plants.  Watering right at the roots, just exactly what I needed! This system is designed  to flow from a  water tank - would I love one of those! - but I attach the hose to a joining T and it flows off in all directions and seems to be working perfectly.   I buried the hose under the paths where needed and once I add a layer of mulch you wont see the hose, so it will all seem to be working like magic! 


The soaker hose off to the the left of the tree still seems to be functioning OK, so it will be interesting to see the difference in watering systems on either side, since they will both be watered for the same amount of time.

Comments Hi Gillian -- Thanks for your fine post - your photos & can-do installation are a joy! - & it sent me looking online for the same kind of product in the USA - so useful for Permiculture plantings. I also thought to give the link[s] to Rhonda Farrar for their realtively arid "sustainable farm" near San Diego, linked from her Profile @ the url above. To my surprise, all I found online in the US were pot-sized stakes, bottle-cap stakes & metal stakes for anchoring oscillating sprinklers. Am I missing something? Australia leads in many ways of sustainable-agriculture-thinking. Are deep irrigation spikes an Australian exclusive at present?
Jessica, Yes it is funny - that is the first time i have ever seen them and they were on clearance. They were marketed as an attachement to a rainwater catchement system, but will work with a hose and town water as well (oh how I wish I had the room for a raintank!) I dont know why they were not more popular, but clearly not enough marketing.
Is there any manufacturer name associated with the ones you found? It seems a case of a very good idea that was a bit too far ahead of the curve for the general market at that moment - and as you say, it is hard to make up such a trend-gap with normal marketing. Surprising how fast trends can catch up sometimes & with food & water trends, I think we will be seeing more of these watering spikes in the future. I would love to give them a boost! As maybe we could here with the informed growing perspectives at KGI! :-)
Sorry Jessica - I think I got a bit impatient - that went through twice.... I really like the idea of it being attached to a barrel, but just not sure where i could put it. we have a huge problem of standing water breeding dengue mosquitoes during the wet season, but during the dry season I might think of attaching it to a barrel and making use of grey water.
I will really study this in the evening. We have lots of use for these watering spikes here in the Great Basin mountains where water is precious & wind is alway drying irrigation. Plus I am thinking about a big raised-bed garden installation on a south slope below a house - so gravity-fed irrigation from captured roof water or grey water sounds good. Do you have grey water experience? None myself, one friend has used the grey water from an organic household, also gravity-fed. I am wondering about clogging pores or valves with organic grey water? The outlet holes on the irrigation spikes look fairly open.

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