Water in the Orchard

After a weekend off in the middle of the country, we came back home to enjoy my few short days of vacation before summer quarter starts later this week. In that time, I'm trying to actually finish a project, which is to say there was more irrigation work.

My task for this week is to make it so that Noel can water the plants in the back without using the overhead sprinkler. That means connecting the microirrigation lines to the pipes we just installed. Here's the basic setup, next to the Asian pears:

Basic dripper setup

That's a 3/4" pipe coming out of the ground, a 3/4"-1/2" ell, then a special fitting that glues in place to connect the 1/2" tubing.

Over by the strawberries, the setup gets more complicated because the tubing needs to go in two directions, so I installed little branches and then a tee. One tube is for the trees, one for plants (they need different amounts of water).

Slightly more complicated setup by the strawberries

In the salvia bed, the tubing gets more complicated because we have the tubes for plants and trees teeing out of the ground, and an added pipe for the back wall, with a single tube to the back (because no way were we trenching out that far).

Very very complicated

I curved the run of the tubes though the apple/quince bed, to give me more room to work with fittings for the individual plants in there. I'd love to be able to say that this is something I will install and forget, but in fact this is going to require human intervention and adjustment seasonally and as plants are added.

Tubes running through the orchard

My hope is that by making the irrigation more systematized and less subject to major human error, plants that want regular water, like the daylilies, will not have to suffer too much with me being away.

Tube in the daylilies

Tomorrow I do the sprinkler heads, and with any luck I'll get a decent start on the manifold for the irrigation lines that run under the house. I'm trying to decide how to address the possibility of leaks like the ones we have on the outside manifold. Maybe a drip tray emptying into the sump?

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posted by ayse on 06/18/07

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