BUCKET KIT WATERING VS. HAND WATERING

Elizabeth D. Adams
Chapin Third World Projects
368 N. Colorado Ave.
Watertown, NY 13601

Richard D. Chapin
Chapin Watermatics Inc.
740 Water St.
Watertown, NY 13601

Western Polyacrylamide Inc.
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ABSTRACT

Bucket Kits are now being used in many countries to help the poorest of the poor to grow vegetables when they have no rain.Up to this date, the recommendation has been to use 10 gallons of water daily for two 50 foot rows of vegetables. In many of the areas where the Bucket Kits are used, the water has to be carried for a mile or two. This necessitates that every drop be used as efficiently as possible. These trials were designed to determine if the recommended 10 gallons of water daily is sufficient water to grow a good crop. To determine if the Bucket Kits had an advantage over hand watering, an identical hand watered bed of vegetables was grown next to the Bucket Kit bed. Tomatoes, peppers, Swiss chard, cabbage, and zucchini were grown. The same amount of water was applied twice daily to both beds. Both beds produced a good crop, but the total crop in the Bucket Kit bed had a 24.3% yield increase over the total crop in the hand watered bed. The tomato yield in the Bucket Kit bed was 51.3% greater than the hand watered bed.

(Fig.1)

PURPOSE OF TRIALS

1. Determine if a good crop of vegetables can be grown when there is no rainfall using 10 gallons per day for 2 rows 50 feet long.
2. Compare yields of a hand watered bed with the Bucket Kit watered bed when both beds receive the same amount of water.

BACKGROUND

In third world countries many poor families cannot grow vegetables during the long season when there is no rainfall. These trials were to demonstrate the Bucket Kits as one way for families to be able to feed themselves during their dry season.

METHODS AND MATERIALS

1. Provide an area that receives no rainfall by making a plastic greenhouse type shelter (Fig. 1) over an area 12 feet by 50 feet with a drainage ditch on either side to take away any rain from the roof.
2. For a three week period rototill the soil under the structure deep enough to get the soil powder dry.
3. Prepare two identical ground beds 32 inches wide by 50 feet long, with one bed to be drip irrigated with a Bucket Kit and the other bed hand watered. Using the Beth Adams method, make a shallow trench lengthwise in the middle of each bed (Fig. 2). Place green vegetation in the trench (Fig. 3). Add a light cover of manure (Fig. 4), and level the bed with soil (Fig. 5). Place two drip lines on the Bucket Kit bed as shown in (Fig. 6).
4. Pre-water each bed to make two rows of 50 wet spots 12 inches apart on each bed. Use the Bucket Kit for one bed and hand watering for the other with an amount of water for each bed equal to two daily waterings.
5. Make a planting of vegetable plants from 4 inch pots on June 26, with one plant in each wet spot.
6. Plant each bed with identical plants:

  • 36 Rutgers Tomato
    28 California Wonder Pepper
    12 Fordhook Giant Swiss Chard
    18 Golden Acre Cabbage
    6 Black Beauty Zucchini
  • 7. Irrigate the Bucket Kit bed by filling the 5 gallon bucket once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Irrigate the Hand Watered bed by putting 7 ounces of water as close as possible to each individual plant once in the morning and once in the afternoon.
    8. Once a week water each bed. with 5 gallons fertilizer water mixed 1 ounce Peters 20-20-20 to 3 gallons of water. This is in place of Manure Tea that might be used in 3rd world countries.
    9. Cultivate beds to keep down weed growth.
    10. Begin to harvest the crop twice weekly as soon as it is ready, and record the yields.

    RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

    The plastic greenhouse type shelter was called "Little Africa" because it was designed to simulate dry African conditions. While waiting for the soil to become very dry, the plants in 4 inch pots became quite large before they were transplanted into the beds. The tomato and pepper plants grew so large that they needed to be supported.

    The first harvest dates were:

    The Zucchini harvest was terminated Sept. 8th due to a bad case of mildew. The other harvests were terminated Sept 30 due to frost. The yields in pounds are shown in Table 1. Cabbage yields were identical for both beds. Pepper yields showed 7.8% less for the Bucket Kit bed. The total yield for the Bucket Kit bed was 404.10 pounds and 325.16 pounds for the hand watered bed making an increase of 24.3% for the Bucket Kit bed. Table 2 shows total tomato harvest to date beginning Aug. 12 and finishing Sept. 30. The Bucket Kit bed yield was 192.70 pounds while the hand watered bed yield was 127.38 pounds, making a 51.3% increase for the Bucket Kit bed.

    CONCLUSIONS

    1. These trials indicate that a good crop can be grown by both Bucket Kit watering and by hand watering when using only 10 gallons of water daily for two rows of vegetables 50 feet long
    2. Since the hand watered trial included applying 7 ounces of water twice daily right next to each individual plant, the comparative yield is unknown for a bed receiving the same amount of water but poured over the bed from a sprinkler can.
    3. The labor to apply water to the hand watered trial took about 20 minutes daily compared to a few seconds to fill the bucket.
    4. The total yield was substantially higher in the Bucket Kit bed.
    5. Even if there was no increase in yields, the Bucket Kit concept provides an excellent vehicle around which an entire teaching program for growing vegetables can be organized to train teachers to go back to their villages to teach others to grow vegetables during the dry season.
    6. It should be recognized that although both beds received no rain in our "Little Africa" trial, the temperatures were not as high as they would be in some countries. Some additional water might be needed during very hot windy conditions.
    7. Although great attention was paid so that both beds had identical conditions, this trial was for only one season and needs to be confirmed with more trials.



    TABLE 1.

     

    YIELD IN

    POUNDS

    BUCKET
    KIT
    WATERED
    BED

     

    BUCKET
    KIT
    WATERED
    BED

    HAND
    WATERED
    BED

    AS A %
    OF HAND
    WATERED
    BED

    TOMATOES
    PEPPERS
    SWISS CHARD
    CABBAGE
    ZUCCHINI
    TOTAL

    192.70
    49.75
    50.34
    84.56
    26.75
    404.10

    127.38
    53.94
    40.15
    84.56
    19.13
    325.16

    +51.3
    -7.8
    +25.4
    00.0
    +38.8
    +24.3

    TABLE 2.

    1997 TOMATO TRIALS
    - Identical beds and amounts of water
    - Each tomato bed 3ft x 18ft - 36 plants
    - Bucket kit had a 51.3% increase in yield