Do you remember those photosynthesis charts back from grade 8 Science class? One of the most critical parts of the process of photosynthesis (process used by plants and other organisms to convert light energy into chemical energy that can be later be released to fuel the organisms’ activities i.e. growth of cones) is WATER!
While there certainly was no shortage of rain in the 2013 crop year, the prior 2012 crop year saw one of the worst droughts in years in Southern Ontario (and much of North America). With hops requiring a lot of water throughout the growing season, we decided not to take a chance on rainfall and instead opted to build our own irrigation pond. Adjacent this pond will be a pump-house that will filter and pump precious water onto our hop yard. Our pond was dug in early March while there was still frost in the ground to help support the large excavating equipment. Once dug, the pond quickly filled with water from underground springs coming out of thawed ground.
Our irrigation system will monitor the moisture level in the soil through underground sensors which will trigger the irrigation process when the soil no longer holds adequate moisture to feed our plants. The irrigation will be done through a drip line suspended above the crown the hop plants. This irrigation system will also carry valuable nutrients to our plants as required.
Our irrigation pond is in a low lying area of our farm that has springs and 3 drainage tile outlets which drain water from area farmland (see blog entry #1)
The newly dug pond after the first Spring melt