River Hebért, NS ~ The primary soil type on our farm is the Hebert series. Hebert soils are a sandy loam (emphasis on sandy) and very well-draining (to the point of droughtiness). We’re pleased with this because we’ll be able to get on the fields earlier in the spring. The downside is, we’ll have to be extra diligent with nutrient and organic matter applications—compost, aged manure, cover crops/green manures, mulch…—as well as irrigation.
Currently, we have mostly sprinklers and some soaker hoses, but, we’re going to get a drip irrigation system this season. In our well-draining soils, rainfall drains quickly and takes nutrients with it. This also contributes to our soil acidity: soil nutrients like calcium are alkalizing, and when they leach down through the soil layers, their acid buffering powers are lost. So, we don’t want to be using too many sprinklers that would water in a way similar to rainfall.
This week, we received the Drip Works catalogue in the mail. It’s very confusing for us to look through it at all the components of an irrigation system and not know exactly how to put it all together to suit our farm. But luckily for us (and smart business sense for them), you can send them a layout of your property and where/what you want to irrigate, and they’ll create a system for you with a quote. So, we’ve worked on a layout and look forward to seeing what they come up with. And the price.
Our hopes for irrigation are to use our drilled well primarily, and maybe also our dug well and the spring-fed brook which runs along our property. When we moved in, we didn’t have any information at all about the drilled well, which is what comes into our house and is used for drinking and bathing. But, I recently learned that there are well logs on the Government of NS website. So I found our well on it. They records aren’t complete and it’s a bit of a challenge, I had to search based on town and then look through all the names until I found the name of the previous owner. But now I know that our well is 50 feet deep and 16 feet to bedrock.
If anyone has any experience planning an irrigation system or improving sandy soils, I’d be glad for advice.