Wednesday, October 3, 2012

cutting edge of low tech farming

Homer likes to joke that we are on the cutting edge of low technology farming. Like the water off of the hoop inch of rain off of a hoophouse the size of ours produces thousands of gallons of water, no longer falling to the ground but instead gathering, rushing, strengthening to be able to wash out foundations.

Our low tech solution, in this case, are rain barrels. Syphoned water goes to the indoor beds, is dipped out with a bucket and used as needed or runs from the bottom into the drip tape.

The rain here can be unpredictable. While we have not experienced the drought that other states have (and we are thankful for that) the rain here will fall, fill rain barrels to overflowing and then not rain again for a while. So the rain barrels will sit, full of water, as we use the water up.

Standing water? Not a good thing. Means mosquito breeding. And in thousands of gallons of water that can be a lot of mosquitos. Our low tech solution is to put goldfish, the kind sold for 12 for $1, feeder fish, at the pet store. The fish find the mosquito larva while we work. And then at the end of the season, as temperatures dip into freezing, we move the rain barrels so they can't fill with water and break when the water expands. The fish go into the cement pond, and if the ducks don't get them they go back to the rain barrels next year.

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