WaterMate and Self Sufficiency in the Scottish Highlands
When your nearest shop is an hours boat ride away, having a healthy supply of fresh produce can be somewhat of a challenge to say the least. That’s why David from the Scottish Highlands decided that he would invest in growing his own food with the help of the WaterMate irrigation system.
David begun gardening with an existing kitchen garden that is used to supply produce for guests staying on the remote island due to difficulties sourcing fresh produce – not to mention the food miles that were used just to get food to the island. The soil on the land was poor and being exposed to a range of natural elements – making it difficult to grow. That was until, the magic of seaweed was used alongside donkey manure and animal bedding to create a compost that was brilliantly fertile.
After such a great harvest and growing season, the avid grower decided to invest in a Polycrub in order to grow a wider variety of fruit and vegetables throughout the year. Polycrubs are designed to withstand hurricane winds and so was absolutely perfect to shelter more sensitive plants from harsh coastline conditions. The only problem with so many lovely harvests? There’s a lot of watering to do.
We asked David some more questions about his set -up, and why he chose Harvst…
Why were you looking for a watering system and why did you choose WaterMate?
I was keen to explore the options of using an automated drip irrigation system in the polycrub as there are many so many advantages! Getting water directly to the soil without soaking everything in the process is so important to avoid mould, mildew and so many other problems associated with poly tunnels.
While doing my research into various systems and timers I stumbled upon WaterMate which stood out from the others, and I really liked the idea of being able to monitor the temperature/ humidity and soil moisture levels remotely, whilst also being able to set watering times and intervals etc. on my phone. I decided to give it a try, and so far I am very impressed with the system.
Have you used any automatic systems before?
We have used a basic irrigation system in the vegetable garden which is made from a timer and soaker hoses which worked well in the garden but I needed something slightly more advanced for the polycrub.
How did you set up your irrigation system?
We are fortunate to have a good water supply, electricity and WiFi near the polycrub so we opted for the mains powered WaterMate which is fed from the tap.
We set the irrigation system up so i could monitor the soil moisture levels in each of my raised beds and water them each independently using drippers through the length of the bed. To make the most of the height of the polycrub i have made strawberry hangers made with large guttering, these also have irrigation pipe running along them with drippers that can be adjusted to ensure they receive the right volume of water.
What was easy and difficult about setting up?
It was simple to set up the system but took about a day to think of the best way to get the right volume of water to where it needed to be and and experiment with the different drippers and sprayers. Connecting the system to the WiFi was a breeze. The slightly trickier part was ensuring the correct pressure from the tap for the system. If the tap pressure is too high it will blow the pipes off the joints, or two low then the drippers don’t water effectively.
Do you harvest your water?
We are off grid so yes we do harvest our water. We collect it at our hydro scheme inlet and feed it into our water system on the estate.
And finally – what watering regime have you used?
We are still in the experimental stage with watering the polycrub but i love the flexibility of being able to tailor any regime i want to any area of the polycrub and monitor it remotely!
If you’d like to share how you’ve used your Harvst mini greenhouse or irrigation system, be sure to get in touch!