Winter is here; the time to tend to your irrigation system is now
With overnight temperatures down into the freezing zone, it’s safe to say fall will soon give way to winter. And one important consideration for growers is what to do with any extra water in their catchment systems. Kyra Wagoner addressed that on this week’s “Homer Grown” with Desiree Hagen.
“So when you have a fancy irrigation system, or old rain barrels or watering cans, or you don't want to see your hoses all rendered useless, try your best to get everything drained before that freeze starts kicking in,” she said.
Wagoner says water cycling through freeze-and-thaw cycles can cause tremendous damage.
“There is a kind of ancient technique has been used over the millennia to break down mountains. It's called water,” Wagoner said. “Water freezes and thaws, and can break up all kinds of things, and as we enter this season of freezing and thawing, remember all of the things that water can break.”
With a pretty wet fall, rain catchment systems may be full, but in the rush to drain and dry the system, Wagoner advises caution.
“Might be very tempting to dump all of that that into your greenhouse beds and soak that up nicely before winter, but remember: water breaks things,” she said. “So if you have any perennials that are in those greenhouse or in those garden beds that you soak, and they get a hard freeze, you can really damage a lot of your roots.”
Wagoner has a tip for making sure your greenhouse beds get the water they need early next season, without endangering the soil.
“One of the best ways I've seen to tell when your garden beds in your greenhouses do need water is simply to let nature run its course. Put some snow in there in about February,” she said. “When we start getting light again, when we have 10 hours of daylight, that's all you need to grow things and your greenhouse will know it. It'll melt that snow and it'll start all your weed sprouting. So, you know, it's ready to plant.”
You can hear more about winterizing your garden and greenhouses on this week’s edition of “Homer Grown” with Desiree Hagen.