Hydrologic mini-cycle for soil moisture and salt control in irrigated agriculture
The method proposed here for soil moisture and salt control in irrigation utilizes solar energy and clear plastic to recycle water from irrigated furrows to adjacent seed or plant beds. The use of clear plastic canopies over the irrigated furrows prevents evaporation and maintains a moist seedbed for long periods of time. Harmful concentrations of soluble salts can also be redistributed within the bed by recycling water from the wetted furrow. Installation of the hydrologic minicycle system can be beneficial in seed germination and establishment of many of our high value crops. It can also be useful in areas of insufficient rainfall and high temperatures, especially where water is costly or of poor quality. Adaptation to nursery and greenhouse culture could greatly reduce the labor required by the frequent watering of plants. Warmer soil temperatures found in the plant beds beneath the edge of plastic canopies could facilitate early spring seed germination when solar energy is available but outside air temperatures are still too low for a normal seeding date.