Irrigations Part One: The Basics - Parker & Sons

Welcome back once again to the Parker & Sons blog. So far this month we’ve been talking a lot about Spring cleaning but it’s time to take a step in another direction. With Spring comes another great thing for us here in the desert, vegetation, or to put it more musically “April showers bring May flowers”. Unfortunately for us here in the Valley, the showers are not so prodigious as they may be elsewhere. So how then do you manage a garden, or keep a yard healthy? Well, the system that’s been tried and true in the Southwestern US for almost a thousand years: Irrigation.

Defining it briefly, irrigation is a method of agriculture in which controlled volumes of water are supplied to crops or plants at set intervals to encourage growth. This is especially done in places with dry soil or when rainfall alone is too little to flourish.

Irrigation as a means of supplying lands with water has been done by humans for at least 5000 years. It was done in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Ancient Persia, Ancient China, Sri Lanka, as well as Pre-Columbian North America, and it still helps the Valley thrive today! If you’ve ever looked out on a school field, or walked through an older neighborhood of homes and see the ‘yard’ replaced by inches of sitting water. That’s irrigation at work.

In essence, irrigation moves water from sources (groundwater, treated waste water, floodwater) across areas of land using various techniques to ensure the land is supplied with water evenly. There are numerous types of irrigation including surface, localized, subsurface textile, drip, using sprinkler systems, sub-irrigation, automatic, and in-ground.

This has been the most basic, briefest of overviews on what irrigation is and entails. Next time we will get much more in-depth with the irrigation we see here in Arizona, how it works, the pros and cons of the systems, and how you can use one to maximum effectiveness in keeping your home yard or garden lively.

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