Pitcher irrigation - A method that uses round earthen containers for growing saplings

A brief on the technique for creating slow release of water below the ground, minimizing evaporation losses and risk of salinization.

Pitcher irrigationIt is similar to drip irrigation, but less expensive to install. The pitchers are the round earthen containers used in rural areas for water storage, ranging from 10 to 20 liters in capacity. This kind of irrigation is ideal for spreading plants such as gourd, pumpkin, and melon because few pitchers are needed per unit area. It is also very good irrigation for saplings, promoting deep root growth.

First, dig a pit as deep as the pitcher, and place the pitcher inside. Then surround the pitcher with finely powdered soil, pressed against the outer wall of the pitcher. Keep the neck of the pitcher above the soil surface. Fill the pitcher with water and replace the lid (to prevent mosquito breeding). In a day or two when the moisture in the pitcher has spread into the surrounding soil, plant seeds within the moist area (downhill from the pitcher if the ground is sloping). Refill the pitcher anytime ¾ of the water is gone. The pitcher should be positioned so that rainwater runoff cannot enter it directly, otherwise silt may block the pores of the pitcher.

Pitcher irrigation1Soluble fertilizers can also be mixed with water and applied through the pitcher. If the water used for irrigation has high salinity, the pitcher location should be changed every 3 years. To increase the depth of irrigation, a wick can be added to the pitcher as shown in the picture (the hole in the bottom must be made before firing). The cotton wick must be firmly fixed in the hole to prevent plant roots from entering. If pitchers are used for starting saplings, they can be removed after 1 or 2 years and used elsewhere, because the young trees will have developed deep roots.



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