Tuesday, May 21, 2013

In View

An irrigation chain: approx. 2,000 maize plants, 500 bean plants
The demo garden pumps:
A view of most of the demo:
Water flow at the demo: (onions at 2 months)
Flow at the corner:
Watering onions, with mulch:
Onion nursery near the demo, belongs to one of the Mziza club members:

Katsumwa Irrigation: Up and Running

Irrigation is underway at Katsumwa Village, Lilongwe. There are five irrigation farmers using this system and 15 additional farmers participating in the training course, to eventually start their own irrigated gardens. Up to three acres of irrigable land sits within range of the water tank. For a start the farmers have cultivated about half and acre.

Due to the sandy soil the farmers had to dig a well farther from the water tank. In order to fill the tank over that distance we installed a 200 liter drum near the pump which is connected by ground pipes to the 13,000 liter tank. As the drum fills, the pressure in the drum exceed the pressure in the tank, and water begins to flow into the tank.

The water pump can usually pump faster than the water transfers from the drum to the tank, which could lead to an overflowing tank. However, this does not present a problem under normal conditions because the farmers take short breaks while pumping, allowing the drum and tank to equalize.
Water tank:
 Distribution pipes:
 Flow under minimum pressure:
 Farmers learn pump maintenance:
Demonstrating how to water-in the basins:

 Demonstrating how to direct water into the basins:
 Demonstrating how to mulch the basins:

Thursday, May 9, 2013

First Roots in the Ground at Siyasiya, Salima

Farmers were busy in their irrigated gardens the past three weeks, putting to practice what they learned during the initial trainings in April. At Salima, the St. Barnabas irrigation club transplanted tomato seedlings into the first section of their garden.

Though they said they had some challenges at first, the irrigation process has not been difficult for them. They were excited to share with us their plans for expansion.