Sometimes we have Frugal Fails. One of our big ones lately was the drip irrigation kit we bought over the winter.
When you first transplant a seedling, it is incredibly fragile. The fact is, many of ours just don’t make it. And I would say that most of the ones we lose, we lose to watering. Either the heavy stream from the hose snaps the tender shoots, the hose itself gets pulled across a bed and knocks them over, or more likely, we just don’t get any water to them at a critical moment in the first couple of weeks. This winter, we said enough is enough and bought a drip irrigation home setup from Dripworks. Not frugal. We had lots of conversations where we pretended it would save us money in the long term. But really, it’s just too disheartening watching our plants die, so we considered it worth the cost.
Installation took two days. That’s two days off work for my wife, who bills by the hour. The net loss there is much higher than the actual cost of the irrigation kit. We also paid a local high school kid to help with the physical labor.
Then the darn thing didn’t work. Definitely a Frugal Fail. The mainline tubing was full of kinks, and the water wouldn’t flow through it. We called up DripWorks and asked them what to do. Following their advice, we tried pulling the tubes taut. No go. We also tried heating the tubes to make them flexible, then pressing the kinks out.
When that didn’t work, we called DripWorks back and demanded replacement tubing. They were loath to send new materials. They said the tubing must developed these kinks sitting in our basement over the winter. We spoke sternly with them until they saw things our way.
Long story short (too late!), we reinstalled over the weekend. With new tubing that actually allowed for the flow of water, there were no more kinks in the system. We now have drip irrigation to half the garden. We will need to buy supplies to extend it to the rest of the yard eventually, but we wanted to get this working before investing in more.