Problems with Automated Systems

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I won’t sugar coat it, I am a lazy person by nature. I even taught myself to sleep standing up, the only way it was told it allowed while in my tech school in the military. The training instructor was NOT happy when I pulled it off, so the rules changed again. Sometimes I work REALLY hard to be lazy…

A couple years ago, I spent a couple weeks trenching my backyard, running PVC, all so that I wouldn’t have to water my gardens by hand. While it has paid off over the last couple years, the initial investment, at least to me in labor, was huge. But it works rather well now….

Most of the time.

Last month, I mentioned that my Everglades tomatoes took a hit from the storms, and were slowing recovering. I thought they were simply stressed from having been brutalized by the winds and rain. Little did I know, but it wasn’t only the tomato plants that were brutalized.

This morning, on a walk thorough, I noticed that the remaining tomato plants were drying up and starting to look REALLY bad. Puzzled, I started looking more closely at my raised beds. Summer is never a time of high production for me, as the heat is downright oppressive. Few plants do well in the heat, and I also fare poorly while outside working the gardens. So I tend to let the gardens slack off over the hot months of June, July, and August. I only mention this to explain why I didn’t notice the problems sooner.

It seems that the solenoid that opens the sprinkler line also took a hit during the storms, breaking off one of the wires. This shut off ALL water flow indefinitely. I never noticed, since we have been having fairly consistent rains the last couple of months. However, over the last week, its remained rather dry, and the heat is showing its results.

A replaced solenoid should resolve the problem, and get my gardens back up and running for the fall growing season, Florida’s version of “spring planting”.

This failure brings to mind other automated systems I have in place, namely feeders and waterers for my animals. While I tend to feed the rabbits daily, the birds (I’m down to just quail now) have a feeder set up that only requires filling every 4-5 days. The water is provided by an automatic setup consisting of a 1-gallon bucket with a float valve. This feeds as water as the animals want to the animals horizontal watering nipples for the rabbits and vertical chicken nipples for the birds.

Since the water for this system is from my well, the 1/8 inch line needs to be monitored for flow, since the minerals can build up causing a loss of flow. No water in the Florida heat results in heat stress as a minimum, and death as the usual result.

So the point I’m making in all of this is that even though you have an automated system in place to eliminate all of the drudge work, don’t forget to regularly check on the system to make sure that it is working properly.


Life is such a journey of discovery….


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    1. I have your SASE sitting on the counter with the rest, I promise you’ll get your seeds…and from your mailing address, I see that winter gardening is a definite option for you as well…

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