Q. We water our gardens with irrigation water. How do we do the Mittleider method? I have pressurized irrigation, but the water comes from the river and clogs the pipes with mud, rocks, worms, and even fish! And my parents have flood irrigation – how do we do the beds to accommodate that?
A. With pressurized irrigation water, just use screening materials that are fine enough to screen out the problems. There are materials you can buy from places like House of Hose, etc that are very fine mesh, yet strong enough to last. I pump from a creek myself and my screening material is several years old. Running your water either to the head of each bed, or into a PVC pipe system will give you fast watering. Always use pipe with threaded ends, so you can flush the built-up sediment. And if the tiny holes begin to clog up, just tap the pipes with a stick or the hoe or rake handle to clear them.
If you currently have flood irrigation and don’t have the capacity or finances to install a pump and pipes, you just need to build your beds so they have access to the water at one end, and give them a 1″ fall in 30′. The only problem you may have is if your irrigation turn is only every 7 or 8 days, your plants will be hurting greatly for water. You may want to arrange – if you can – to take a much shorter turn more often, and help your neighbors to do the same. This will make everyone’s plants healthier and more productive.