Thursday, September 29, 2016

6 Tips to Winterize Your System

The time to put most gardens to bed is drawing closer as the days get shorter and the temperature drops. As we savor our garden’s bounty by canning, drying, freezing, and eating the wonderful fruits and vegetables, we must keep in mind that an unexpected frost might be on its way.

In most parts of the country there is a real concern about freezing and frost damage to a drip system during winter. There are two areas of concern: the beginning of the system (timer, valves, and filter) and low spots in the system where water may settle.
  1. Battery timers, filters, and regulators should be brought indoors with the batteries removed from the timers.
  2. When the battery timer is removed from the faucet and system, use the HPLUG to plug the beginning of the mainline tubing or use a plastic bag over the opening. Do not leave the lines open.
  3. After the main water supply is shut off, open all manual valves and set automatic valves to manual open. Remove all end fittings, drain any water, and then loosely replace the ends.
  4. In flat areas elevate the mainline to make sure all water drains out of the fittings.
  5. For low spots in the mainline tubing, either use a flush valve or insert a basic emitter at the lowest point.
  6. Another practice is to blow compressed air through the lines after opening the end cap.
To protect your late summer garden and extend your growing season, a protective lightweight row cover material such as Agribon protects early and late season crops from both wind and frost. It can be placed over your veggies and weighted down with wood or metal stakes. Heavyweight galvanized loop hoops are available to help support the row cover fabric.

Cody is an employee and used the produce which we grow for employees to make this tasty salsa.
Here is one of his salsa recipes to spice up your harvest. The tomatoes, tomatillos, and peppers are from the Dripworks demonstration garden.

For a chance of all year gardening Dripworks offers hoop houses and Solexx greenhouses. Check them out at

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The World's Pure Food Fair

The National Heirloom Expo                                   
September 6, 7, & 8
Santa Rosa, California
  • 4000 Varieties
  • 75 Speakers
  • 300 Vendors
  • 3 Fun Days
  • Demo Gardens
  • Seed Swaps

Dripworks is a proud sponsor of the 6th annual “World’s Fair” of the heirloom seed industry.  The Heirloom Expo is taking place at the Santa Rosa Fairgrounds in northern California Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday September 6th, 7th, and 8th.  You’ll be able to walk the aisles along with home growers, farmers, school groups, and others like you seeing and tasting over 4,000 varieties of fruits and vegetables. What will be showcased is the diversity of plants that our planet has to offer, and the incredible farmers that grow them.

Amazing Speakers!

Over 75 nationally and internationally acclaimed on-topic speakers will talk about the secrets and the challenges of sustainable farming practices. Some of the people who will educate everyone include Jeffery Smith, Dr William Woys Weaver, Kate Frey, Vani Hari, Jere Gettle, Sara Patterson, John Jeavons, Dr. Vandana Shiva, and 70 other world renowned speakers who will concurrently be in three separate buildings for all three days.

The Mission is to reconnect us to our food heritage. What is needed is getting people with a passion for gardening and growing food educated on how to grow quality organic food.  The food industry and all of its major players are rightfully concerned with their bottom line. GMO food seed has been developed to raise the productivity of crops, to enable plants to be shipped long distances more easily, and to help provide the world with enough food to stave off hunger. All of these claims are coming under question by the general public and many in the scientific community. The National Heirloom Expo examines these issues thoroughly.

Enjoy the many garden based companies showing off their cutting edge, quality products. You’ll find many colorful,  trend setting businesses from all over the United States that offer quality tools and information, books, plants, and products that will compliment your gardening skills. A large variety of delicious food is also available. You’ll have the opportunity to broaden your awareness of what you can grow with heirloom seeds. Stop by the Dripworks booth.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Save on Water, Money and Time - How To Transform Your Sprinkler System to Drip Today

As water becomes more precious and our lives get busier, it’s becoming increasingly important to have an efficient irrigation system. Many gardeners and growers are converting their sprinkler systems to drip irrigation because it is more precise, efficient, and easier to maintain. In fact, drip systems are known to use up to 70% less water than the sprinkler systems we’re all used to dealing with. Drip systems are also incredibly diverse in their ability to water any terrain, from gardens around your home to hillsides, vineyards, orchards, or row crops.

Beyond the initial investment, converting your water-guzzling sprinklers into a drip irrigation system is a no-brainer. Your plants will be healthier. Weeds will be fewer. And your water bills will be lower. The amount of money saved will pay you back for the expense of buying a starter drip kit the first season. Follow this step-by-step guide to attain the most seamless means for trading up. You’ll end up saving time, water, and money.

Outline Your Plan of Attack

The first step to converting your sprinkler setup into a drip system is to take an audit of your current layout and space. Where is your main water source? What’s your system’s water pressure? How many sprinklers do you have and how are they laid out? As soon as you have a clear grasp on what your plan looks like, you can grab all of the parts you’ll need in an easy to assemble kit. The best way to do this is to purchase one of our pre-made kits.

Get the Pressure Regulation and Filtration Right

The recommended working pressure of drip irrigation systems is often lower than your actual water pressure. If this is so, you will need a pressure regulator to control (reduce) incoming water pressure. Install the regulator near the start of your system, ideally right after your control valve or faucet.

Drip emitters have small orifices and pathways that can clog. To prevent this from occurring, you should install a filter. If the water is relatively clean (e.g. city water or a clean well) you can simply install a screen washer or tee filter on each riser. If you are dealing with something more like a live body of water (pond, river, or creek) or runoff you will want to install a larger heavy duty filter on the main supply line.

Install Your Drip System

Turn Off Your Water Supply

As many gardeners have learned the hard way, it’s a best practice to start each project by turning your irrigation system off at the main valve of your water supply. Neglecting to do so may cause flooding and a little something we like to call #IrrigationFail.

Drip Line

It’s possible to install the mainline of your drip irrigation system either underground or above ground, although it’s more difficult to spot leaks if tubing is below ground. We recommend mulching over the tubing, because it looks better, lasts longer, prevents people from tripping, protects the tubing from environmental hazards, and increases the overall lifespan of your system. You will probably find covering the mainline to be aesthetically pleasing too.

Cap Off Old Sprinklers

After your drip irrigation system is installed, seal off unneeded sprinkler heads with a threaded cap.

Update Your Watering Practices

Congratulations. Your drip irrigation system is almost complete. Now it’s time to start reaping the rewards. Go ahead and update that watering schedule to take into account the fact that your plants will sip water much more effectively than before.

Use a bluetooth timer like the one explained in the video above to increase efficiency and water your new system automatically.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Bokashi Fermentation: The Practice That Will Finally Change The Naysayers’ Minds on Composting

Trump, The Dallas Cowboys, Miracle Whip, composting. These topics tend to bring people into fits of polarized passion, but Bokashi fermentation may very well change the cynics’ views on composting. The process is faster, simpler and more predictable than traditional composting. Here are the reasons you should choose Bokashi fermentation for composting and how to get started.

Bokashi is a Japanese term that means “fermented organic matter.” Bokashi fermentation is the process of turning food scraps and kitchen waste into compost. The anaerobic process, in its most basic form, is all about fermenting organic matter in an acidic environment so it can be quickly assimilated into the soil again. Usually anaerobic composting has negative by-products, but Bokashi is a closed bucket system that allows composters to reap the benefits without the negative side effects.

For example, the process all occurs in a system so there are no insect or rodent issues, no putrid odors, and minimal (if any) greenhouse gasses produced. Bokashi is also beneficial because you can add all types of food waste including meat, cheese, dairy and bread. Unlike traditional composting, you don’t have to worry about mixing greens and browns in any specific ratio. Perhaps best of all, it’s affordable and the entire process takes weeks instead of months.

Getting Started with Bokashi - The Complete How To Guide

Bokashi is one of the most affordable composting systems. To get started, order one or two of our Bokashi composting kits. As you will see from the process below, after a Bokashi bucket is full, it must sit for two or so weeks while the fermentation process is occurring. Two buckets makes it possible to add food scraps and kitchen waste to a bucket while the other is fermenting.

To get started, sprinkle a layer of the included Bio Blend™ Bokashi Mix on the bottom of the bucket. Then add chopped food scraps and kitchen waste on top, remembering to add a thin coat of Bio Blend™ Bokashi Mix on top of the waste before sealing the container. Because Bokashi is an anaerobic process, it’s best to keep the bucket free from oxygen. To minimize exposure to oxygen some people recommend packing the previous day’s waste down with a plate. Also, be sure not to mix up the previous day’s waste as this will create oxygen pockets.

When the bucket is full, seal it tightly and place it out of direct sunlight. During the fermentation process a liquid fertilizer concentrate will form. This liquid contains beneficial nutrients and microbes that can be used as a fertilizer. Draw the liquid off with the bucket spigot every three to four days to keep the environment in the Bokashi bucket optimized for fermentation. Then dilute the fertilizer concentrate (25:1 for soil applications and 50:1 for foliar applications) and use it within a couple days.

After two to four weeks the fermentation process in the Bokashi bucket will be complete. Take the remaining solids out of the bucket and bury them in the soil or place them in a traditional composting pile. After the decomposition process is complete you have a rich, dark compost that can be used as a soil amendment in your garden.

Share Your Compost Adventures

Do you use Bokashi fermentation? If so, tell us what you think. We’d love to hear your insights, as well as tips you have for others just starting the process for the first time.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Smart Irrigation Month and the Garden Bloggers That Inspire Us All To Do Better

Smart Irrigation Month sneaks up on us every July, and with the fireworks, scorching summer heat and #smartselfies, we’re reminded to take a beat to think about what’s really important. Irrigation has been around for hundreds of years and as technology advances and our world changes, it’s on us to be conscientious of how we approach irrigation. Each and every one of us can get smarter, but at the end of the day it takes an entire community to create a movement. That’s why this year, in honor of Smart Irrigation Month, we’ve taken the time to recognize some of the smartest garden bloggers we know. These are the people who are already saving water, gardening smarter, and thinking about sustainability. Check them out and let us know if there’s anyone who inspires you to be smarter as well.

Shawna Coronado

Why We Love It: Shawna shows us that one person can make a difference for the world.
What It’s About: Shawna dropped her office job in exchange for a life full of happiness, health and intention. Now she shares her tips for wellness and sustainable living on her blog. Get on board and learn about everything from drip irrigation for elevated garden beds to perennials and organic pest control.

The Real Gardener

Why We Love It: Most garden blogs will tell you what to do, but The Real Gardener also tells you why so you can apply your knowledge smarter.
What It’s About: Cristina da Silva, the voice behind The Real Gardener, has decades of extensive gardening knowledge in her bucket caddy. She started gardening professionally 30 years ago and does a great job of sharing an information in an approachable way. She shares tips for saving water, talks about healthy soil, and writes enough great book recommendations to require at least one new line item in your budget. Read through the entire blog and want more? You can also find Cristina on Twitter at the #groundchat tweetup every Friday.

Pass the Pistil

Why We Love It: Pass the Pistil is a no-nonsense blog about cultivating your garden and your soul.
What It’s About: Pass the Pistil’s Emily Murphy is a dedicated gardener who knows how to get to the root of everything. Her planting tips are useful, matter of fact and beautifully presented, but she doesn’t stop there. Emily also travels often and writes a lot about how gardening can inspire us to see the world in a bigger, greater way.

Garden Matter

Why We Love It: Garden Matter reminds us to slow down and tend to our environment, loved ones, and ourselves.
What It’s About: “There’s something about growing, creating and giving, that for me, is incredibly satisfying and fulfilling,” writes Patti about her blog. Garden Matter combines gardening with crafts, cooking and decorating, resulting in a website that flourishes with ideas and instructionals for home and garden related projects. Follow through with the projects on Patti’s blog and you’ll have everything from fruit tea to floral water -- all the makings for a more peaceful and complete home.

Garden Therapy

Why We Love It: Garden Therapy is a home sanctuary for those of us who know how healing it is to grow plants.
What It’s About: Gardening rescued Garden Therapy’s founder, Stephanie, from a debilitating illness. Now she shares her passion and experience with anyone who wants to dig in and DIY with therapeutic projects from the garden. You’ll love Stephanie’s inviting and thoughtful approach to writing. Not only does she take care to make projects accessible to gardeners of all skill levels, she also shares tips for saving water and caring about this Earth that houses us all.

Garden Design Magazine

Why We Love It: When it comes to dreaming about the future of your home garden and outdoor spaces, Garden Design Magazine is the ultimate in aspirational.
What It’s About: Planning your outdoor space or just constantly improving? Garden Design Magazine is the authority for all things gardening. Check out their awesome collection of design ideas, dig deep into their encyclopedic information on plants, and add travel destinations to your list with their incredibly enticing destination imagery.

Savvy Gardening

Why We Love It: From edibles to bugs, Savvy Gardening could very well be the most clever guides for sustainable gardening.
What It’s About: The authors behind Savvy Gardening are smart. They share an incredible amount of knowledge, from beneficial insects to how to cultivate a garden you can eat from. If it were the apocalypse and we suddenly had to grow our own food we would want an internet connection so we could refer to Savvy Gardening. Their tips and tricks would feed us, and their approachable writing style would remind us to stay lighthearted, friendly, approachable, but also serious in our pursuit of gardening.

The Redneck Rosarian

Why We Love It: The Redneck Rosarian reminds us the garden is a place of peace and elegance.
What It’s About: Chris VanCleave, aka The Redneck Rosarian, is a full-time Alabama-based banker with a knack for making a garden radiate. His blog is chock-full of useful tips, interesting stories and history, and knock-you-over stunning images of Chris’ roses. If you’re looking for inspiration for the garden, The Redneck Rosarian is a perfect place to start. Chris is a gentleman of true elegance. He responds to most of the comments on his blog (and there are a lot), but if you can’t get enough of him you can also join him on Twitter for #rosechat.

Share Your Favorite Blogs

Did we miss any of your favorite garden bloggers? Is there someone who inspires you to grow a smarter, most sustainable garden? Let us know in the comments so we can add to them to our reading list.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Smart Irrigation Tips for Gardeners and Growers

From drought-prone California to record-setting temperatures in Australia, we are quickly learning there's very little in this world that's more precious than water. It’s the essence of life, and Smart Irrigation Month reminds us it is our job to manage water intelligently.

Smart irrigation practices have been the foundation of DripWorks since we started shipping out of a makeshift basement warehouse 25 years ago. Although water itself is abundant, the ground water and surface water that serves us municipally and industrially makes up less than 1 percent of the Earth's water. The most accessible and economical freshwater sources have already been developed, especially in water-scarce areas. As demand grows and climates change, new solutions are more critical than ever. In honor of Smart Irrigation Month, we’re sharing some of our best water-saving tips for gardeners and growers. Introduce these tips and you’ll save both water and money.

Plant the Right Plants For Your Environment

According to the EPA, the average American family uses 320 gallons of water per day. 30% to 60% of that water is dedicated to cultivating lawns and landscapes, with as much of 50% of that water being wasted due to factors caused by poor irrigation practices.

Some communities are introducing policies to curb outdoor water use, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice beauty. Some homeowners are trading in their finely manicured, water-guzzling front lawns for plants that require less water. Check out eartheasy and Google the term “xeriscape” for ideas on how to make decisions on plants that save up to 75% of water, and require less maintenance.

As you design your landscape, group plants by water usage and reduce evaporation by adding a layer of mulch over bare ground between plantings and rows.

Set Yourself Up For Success

Growers are recognizing the opportunity to lower their water bills and save water. As a result, micro sprinklers and drip irrigation now account for 38% of all farmed acres. Join the progressive leaders and get irrigation right from the start. If you need some help getting started, check out our Gallery of Plans and kits.

Get Your Watering Schedule Right

Fortunately for us, the industry is emerging with an increasing number of technological answers to our perpetual water problems. Timers are one of the most convenient ways to save water, money and time.

Consider investing in an electronic (AC) or battery (DC) timer that has a rain sensor port that can suspend the timer's program when rain is imminent. Once you have a timer, check them once per month to adjust frequency or length of time. Experiment with less frequent watering for a longer duration and be sure to water early or late to avoid wasting water due to evaporation.

Inspect Your Irrigation System Regularly

No matter what we do, environmental conditions make our irrigation systems vulnerable to leaks, breaks or other issues. Make sure you’re not the victim of a water gushing irrigation fail by inspecting your irrigation system regularly. Keep tabs on your water bill and do a visual check regularly to ensure you are staying efficient.

Tap Into Your Community

As more communities realize the importance of water, many places are offering rebates to residents who remove lawns, purchase smart controllers and make other decisions to upgrade to more efficient irrigation systems.

Many local water districts are also chipping in by providing drought information and water saving tips. Look into your local community for tips and support for getting the most out of every precious drop of water.

What Water Wise Decisions Will You Make During Smart Irrigation Month?

Are you putting any of these tips into practice as the summer heat peaks this July? Or maybe you have new ideas or recommendations for other gardeners and growers? We’d love to hear what you have to say in the comments.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Tips for Gardeners and Growers: Irrigation Tips for Clay Soil, Sandy Soil and Loam

As kids we learned that soil is made up of weathered rock particles, but as gardeners and growers we quickly discover that the way sand, silt and clay combines defines a lot about our gardens. Each soil type handles water differently, which means we have to be precise about how we promote healthy plant growth. Smart growers use specific drip emitters and sprayers to emit water precisely and effectively. Take a quick look at our guide for irrigating based on soil type before you go digging around in your garden.

Heavy Clay Soil

Heavy clay soil holds water tightly and can often be rich in nutrients. Water is absorbed slowly and moisture spreads out laterally, but when heavy soil dries out it can be especially prone to cracking. Roots can have a hard time getting through this soil type. We recommend low flow emitters in heavy clay soil environments. These give the water time to soak in and spread out in a nice wide pattern. Try to amend clay soil with compost and other organic matter.

For individual plants, use emitters with a low ½ gallon per hour rating such as the Woodpecker PC emitter, the Woodpecker JR emitter, or the Pinch Drip emitter.

If you’re dealing with row crops, get your hands on the low flow AquaTraxx drip tape or Emitter Tubing for maximum results.

Sandy Light Textured Soil

In sandy soil, water travels vertically, straight down. As a result, it may be necessary to water sandy soil more often. To uniformly moisten sandy soil, use higher flow emitters like the Wooodpecker 2 or 5 gallon per hour emitter with closer emitter spacing.

When growing row crops on a commercial scale, Aqua Traxx drip tape with close together 8” or 4” spacing works well. Irrigate longer for even better results.

In flower beds, adjustable sprayers like the Spectrum and the Micro Jets will completely cover the soil surface and can be tailored to the size of the planting area. The non-adjustable Mini Jet sprayers are quick and easy to install and can help creeping groundcovers and ornamental gardens stay uniformly moist.

Medium Textured Loam Soil

Do you have amended soil that has been improved over the years? Do you have soil that’s loamy, rich and just right for a majority of bedding plants? Emitter Tubing or Soaker Dripline with 6” or 9” spacing between emitters are an excellent choice because they distribute water evenly across the entire length of the tubing.

For closely planted flower beds, rock gardens, or ground cover the Ein Dor mini sprinklers are excellent. They give even coverage for a 5’-13’ diameter area. Punching in individual pressure compensating emitters near each plant also produces excellent results without promoting weeds.

A Quick Note: Watering Schedule Based On Soil Type

Watering schedules are one of the best ways to save water, money and produce a bountiful garden. Consider investing in a battery timer and electronic controller that will you allow to precisely regulate a watering schedule.

When it comes to sandy soil, we recommend often but with shorter programs. For clay soil we recommend less frequent but slow watering as clay holds water for a long time. The resulting water (aka money) savings will pay for the timer and irrigation system within the first few seasons.