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Watering the garden is one of those activities that we all know is important, but it is not glamorous or fun and so it becomes a chore, then an afterthought, and then it stops all together. It’s like when you get new carpet. You keep up with that twice weekly vacuuming because it is shiny and new, and then over time that vacuuming excitement just dwindles away and you think, “you can’t see any dirt…” Like vacuuming, we all know that minimal effort has long term pay off, but neglect leads to dirt and grossness. Watering is the same thing, except that dirt and grossness are always there, and the long-term payoff is delicious fancy vegetables. Or flowers. Whatever you like.

Last year I struggled with watering and I faced many cracked tomatoes, which is a sure sign of inconsistent watering. The inconsistency was primarily from me watering routinely when I was home, and CFO not watering when I was away. I was also using a sprinkler, and the good old pray-for-rain method. Prayer, it turns out, works about as well for a watering system as it does for birth control. I will let you ponder what that success rate may be.

So, what am I doing about this watering conundrum? Last week at my doorstep arrived my customizable drip irrigation kit for my raised beds. Drip irrigation is something that can improve plants by watering at the root level, and in my case, save me a lot of frustration.

The kit arrived with all these tiny little plastic tubes and pieces. It was extremely straight-forward to put together, unless you have the hands of a 12-year-old beauty pageant contestant, aka me. I tend to be proud that my hands are never rough and always manicured, even though I am often digging in the dirt. Lots of lotion and nail scrub-brush use. Using these hands to fit 456,878 tiny pieces very tightly together only resulted in broken skin 17 times, not including when I jumped on a stake with my rubber gardening boots and the spike went through the sole into my foot. Have you ever experienced blood filling up your shoe? I wish I hadn’t. On the up side, no broken nails to report.

With some assistance from two pairs of pliers in lieu of my hands, I did manage to finally get it all put together by the afternoon, checked all the little emitters and watched the water dribble out in a steady consistent flow. I love it when I can do things myself. Unfortunately, I may be without the use of my fingers and left foot for up to 4 days. I wish products would advertise honestly. Instead of “easy installation, sets up in minutes!” try “pain-in-the-ass thousand tiny piece kit that will cause hand bleeding and Tourette-level swearing, sets up in 7-14 hours!”

A nice bonus is that the kit came with a free packet of heirloom cilantro seeds and a coupon for a free seed catalog. Not that I am complaining (too much), but it should come with a pack of Band-Aids and a flask of vodka.

Overall, the system works exactly as it advertised, which is really great. Once I got the bits and pieces hooked up, all I have to do is turn the spigot on for 4-6 hours every few days and voila! Water! The next step is to set up an electronic timer to handle those travel weeks.

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Jessica enjoys the first result of better watering: a bowl full of radish micro greens.

Jessica enjoys the first result of better watering: a bowl full of radish micro greens.

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