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Water pump and irrigation

 
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Hi there! I'm just discovering the great world of market gardening and permaculture! I'm privileged to have access to an acre of land that my father in law is basically giving me free range with and I'm hoping to start "breaking ground" in a few weeks. I'm a total novice and don't really know what I'm doing, but I have some great people around me helping me out. Right now I'm stuck on water and irrigation. The acre I have is right on a small creek that runs 7-9 months out of the year. People have suggested ram pumps, trash pumps with solar panels, and solar well pumps. And I have no idea and am very overwhelmed by all the options. For this year I plan on doing about half an acre of vegetables, fruit, herbs and pollinators and the other half cover crops.  Any suggestions or resources?
 
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you don't say where this is
the stream you have runs when there is lots of surface water is this during the growing season where your at or is the growing season encompass a bunch of the dry time of year there.
 
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Riah,

Congrats on the land, but Bruce is right.  If you live in a terribly arid area and have no hugel mounds and are otherwise gardening conventionally, then irrigation is probably a must.  I personally recommend drip irrigation.  I have used a company called dripworks (dripworks.com) that has good quality products at reasonable prices.  

But an acre under irrigation might be a bit much to afford on the first year.  Perhaps you could put part under drip line irrigation and hand water the rest, expanding as you get the time and money.

Also, mulch is your best friend.  Fortunately, it is possible to grow your own living mulch right in place.

Let us know you climate and soil.  We can probably help you better.  Good Luck!

Eric
 
Riah Dann
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Thanks Eric,

Sorry for giving such little info.
For right now I think the plan will be to grow vegetables on at most half an acre to start. I'll check out dripworks for products! The rest of the land will be used for cover crops, pollinators, and a herb garden.
The land is in Northwest Arkansas, its totally flat, zone 7, with about 47 inches of rainfall a year. The creek generally runs from sept/oct-july/august.
 
Eric Hanson
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Riah,

I would think that you don’t need too much irrigation what with 47” per year.  That is about what I get—I am a bit further north and east of you in the tip of Southern Illinois.  True, you might get hot, dry spells in the summer, but some mulch can really cut down on watering needs.

All that being said, if you do want to go the irrigation route, drip irrigation is by far the most efficient and generally healthiest for the soil.  I used to bury a drip line in my garden till I discovered wood chips.

Best of luck and please keep us updated.

Eric
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