Landscape & Irrigation

October 2017

Landscape and Irrigation is read by decision makers throughout the landscape and irrigation markets — including contractors, landscape architects, professional grounds managers, and irrigation and water mgmt companies and reaches the entire spetrum.

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22 October 2017 Landscape and Irrigation www.landscapeirrigation.com INDUSTRY INSIGHTS BY LARA HERMANSON L andscapers have a multitude of resources at their fingertips when it comes to traditional irrigation practices. Professional wholesalers have long been assets regarding sprinklers and drip irrigation. Similarly, out on the farm, there are common drip tape strategies employed to irrigate monoculture row crops. Launching in Southern California in 2009, Farmscape combined the multitude of traditional practices and new eco innovations to grow food crops in very unlikely spaces. As the largest urban farming company in the United States, Farmscape CEO Dan Allen has aspired to bring the farm back to the city, one project at a time. More than 700 urban farms have been installed since then. Initially, many of these projects were residential, and consisted of one or two raised vegetable beds in the corner of a traditional suburban lawn, but then attracted commercial businesses. All the normal irrigation practices applied in these cases: we would just install a new valve with pressure regulator to extend drip irrigation to the garden, and cap the lawn sprinklers. Generally, for raised beds, Farmscape uses 1/4-inch in-line emitter tubing, with emitters spaced every 6 inches. Easy, right? But we discovered that while drip is the best application for growing food crops, it is subpar for germinating seeds. Adapting germination strategies Some food crops, such as beans, peas, squash and melons, are easy to germinate. The seeds are large, simple to plant, and have wide spacing: 6, 12 or 18 inches. Using the standard 1/4-inch in-line emitter tubing, we plant the seeds directly under the emitters. Then we adjust the timers to water for one minute, three to four times per day, to keep the soil around the seed regularly moist. While this watering schedule is great for germinating seeds, it is not sustainable, and needs to be adjusted as soon as the seeds sprout. Also, if other larger plants are simultaneously growing in the beds, they will either be over or under watered by this system. For that reason, we remove A Growing Trend An inside look at urban farming PHOTOS PROVIDED BY FARMSCAPE

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