Funded by a $7,500 grant from the Harlan County Conservation District, the Harlan County Detention Center will now have an irrigation system installed at the facility to assist with their gardening program.
“With this new system, what we hope to do is during dry summers we’ll be able to water our beans and other vegetables and grow larger crops,” said Harlan County Jailer Curt Stallard. “The system will also help with weeding because the plants are under plastic.”
Stallard said with the new irrigation system, they can now plant two crops of beans, planting a second crop in July.
“Before we couldn’t plant in July because it just got too hot and dry,” said Stallard. “This year we’ll have tomatoes, beans, cucumbers and cabbage all under plastic.”
The jail’s Master Gardner Nobe Baker said last year’s growing season produced 25 tons of potatoes.
“After we put up what we’ll need here at the jail, we then donate a lot of the food left over to other charitable organizations within the county,” said Stallard.
In explaining how the system will work, Chuck Gibson, District Conservationist with the Natural Resources Conservation Services said a machine will make a raised bed and lay plastic munch and plastic drip line in one operation.
“They will use a setter to poke holes in the plastic to place vegetables in the ground,” said Gibson. “Then they will use a pump to pump water from the river under a very low pressure putting water directly in the row under the plastic. It conserves water and also reduces soil erosion and siltation. It also allows for cleaner produce because mud doesn’t splatter on the vegetables when it rains. Insects and disease are not quite the problem. All the fertilizer and nutrients are applied through the drip tape under the plastic. The drip line is about three-quarters of an inch wide and has holes or emitters, every 8 inches. You’ll only have about 8 to 12 pounds of pressure throughout the length of the line. The water doesn’t spray out but oozes out. Water is put directly to the plants roots and you have no loss to evaporation.”
Reach Nola Sizemore at 606-573-4510 or at email@example.com