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Irrigation

  • The Evolution of Irrigation

    Put simply, irrigation can be defined as the process of applying water to a crop for the purpose of aiding its growth. Thousands and thousands of years ago, the incorporation of irrigation as a mainstay of human society, also formally marked the transition of the human civilisation as a species; from one primarily composed of roaming hunter-gatherers, to the more cohesive, conventional agrarian society that is more familiar to us today. For that reason, the importance of irrigation cannot be overstated, and it retains its importance today as a cornerstone of modern society. In order to chart how irrigation has evolved and changed over the years, we have put together this whistle stop tour of the most important benchmarks in its transformation.

    qanat (1024x683) Qanat

    While archaeological evidence tentatively proves the existence of 8000 year old irrigation canals in both the Middle East and South America, the exact origins of irrigation remain murky. The first development of any significance in the world of irrigation however, is more clear-cut and first materialised around 550BC. A product of Mesopotamian ingenuity, the qanat allowed farmers to repurpose ground water for crop irrigation for the first time in history. Mesopotamians used the collective effect of a vertical well and an adjacent channel to generate a source of surface level water.

    The growing population of the 1700s propelled the rise of the European agricultural revolution. The unprecedented experimentation of the era gave birth to a host of irrigation techniques - increased experimentation with crop rotations, improved livestock breeding, the invention of seed drilling, the use of fertilisers and the introduction of new forms of machinery.

    impact sprinkler (1024x683) Impact sprinkler

    It wasn’t until 1932 though that any of the techniques we are familiar with today rose to prominence. Building on the arrival of the domestic lawn sprinkler thirty years earlier, the invention of the impact sprinkler became the building block upon which modern irrigation was founded. As the impact sprinkler became more and more popular, it ushered in a new era of automated watering. American farmers had hitherto been reliant on gravity to carry water along the antiquated furrows that supplied rows upon rows of crops with nourishment.

    The next major development in agricultural irrigation came in the late 1960s with the introduction of drip irrigation. Not only did it do a better job of increasing crop productivity than any technique that preceded it, it also did so using a far lower amount of water. And thus, the practice of micro irrigation was born. Characterised by small fixtures that are capable of administering water with unerring accuracy, micro irrigation has since become a mainstay of agricultural irrigation.

    jabsco pumps Jabsco self priming pump

    As you’d expect, irrigation systems have become infinitely more complex as time has passed. The pressurised systems that power both of the most popular administration methods - sprinkler and drip irrigation - are always composed of a water source, a pump to pressurise the water, a network of pipes that distribute the water from the pump, as well as the sprinklers or emitters themselves. The centrepiece of these systems is the pump, and without one of sufficient quality, any crops are unlikely to flourish. Jabsco pumps provide a range of versatile pumps that can adapt to often tricky pressurised irrigation systems.

  • Summer water-saving tips for your garden

    Have you ever considered how much precious water we use to keep our gardens looking green and beautiful? There are several ways in which you can reduce your levels of irrigation and other water usage throughout the summer months. Some alternatives may require a garden water pump to boost water pressure or to circulate it efficiently.

    Summer Water-Saving Tips for Your Garden: Garden Water Pumps

    Irrigating 

    Don't apply water during the heat of the day, as over 30% may be lost to evaporation. It is best to apply water from 6am to 10am, as this ensures that it has time to infiltrate down through the soil layers to be stored at a safe depth rather than being drawn back up and into the atmosphere. Watering at night can result in the growth of mildew and fungi on your lawn or plants, so it should be avoided.

    Don't overwater your lawn or garden, as this can result in disease. Furthermore, run-off can carry pesticides and fertilizer into nearby streams, where it can cause serious environmental damage. How do you know how much you have watered? Place a rain gauge to measure the amount of water falling from your sprinklers. On average, and depending on the grass variety, you should be applying about 1.3 cm of water twice a week. You can check the uniformity of your sprinklers by placing tins such as empty tuna cans around your laws to see that your sprinklers are doing their job properly.

    Watering infrequently but deeply will encourage root growth so that plants will become stronger and are able to tap into water within the soil when there are dry periods. Don't worry too much about your lawn, as if it is under-watered, such as during a drought, it can go into a state of dormancy for periods of up to two months, depending on the grass variety. So if your lawn isn’t heavily used by children or animals, it will do no harm to leave it without water for a while.

    Don't water the street! Check that your sprinklers and hoses are putting the water where it is needed most and not on the neighbour's garden.

     

    Garden water pumps

    Try using rain barrels to capture water either directly or through the gutters of the house or greenhouse roof. Water can then be stored till needed, and with a small garden water pump you can hook the water up to your irrigation system. With your own pump you can then apply the right volume of water to the specific part of the garden that you need.

     

    Garden Care

    Raise your mower blades before you mow the lawn to leave a depth of grass that can easily compete with weeds and moss. In the flower-beds, minimize weeds, as both of these reduce soil water content.

     

    Ponds

    Pond pumps will move water around your pond, which prevents the build-up of harmful bacteria. Healthy water will attract wildlife to your garden without your having to empty your pond on a regular basis. Ponds that contain fish need to have the water aerated, and a well-fitted pumping system will prevent the need to regularly empty your fish pond.

     

    Pump Sales Direct can supply various types of garden water pump. Find out what type of garden pump is right for you.

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