Being a big drip…

10

Thursday 02 July, 2015 by Uncle Spike

The final job of pre-summer chores is to get the irrigation sorted. Should this not happen, the trees will die – simple as that. Reality was that I did this just before starting the painting this season. That’s less than ideal as the pipes are now lime splattered, but had to be done as the trees were simply drying out too much to wait another week.

The main prerequisite is grass and weed clearance. That took some 18 hours with a gas-powered brush cutter, but trying to lay pipes without a clear run would just not work.

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Pipes are generally laid in straight lines at a separation of 60-90cm. It’s a fiddly job, and involves a lot of walking, with three lines for every row of trees in each orchard area and olive grove. One goes up against the tree trunk (central line), and then two outer lines placed towards the canopy edge.

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A few of the plastic joins (straight join, T-join, or in-line tap) usually need replacing each season. They tend to go brittle in the sun and the movement involved with taking up the pipes and relaying them can cause tiny fractures.

Once all the pipes are down, and any obvious repairs made, it’s time for the water…. However, before that the artesian pump has to be tested and the filters cleaned out. Then, the system is cranked up and pressure tested. I walk up and down every line for a visual inspection – looking for small ‘fountains’ where a pipe has been punctured somehow, or larger than normal wet patches where there is a break of some kind.

For a pipe break, it’s a matter of cutting out and removing the offending section, and rejoining the pipe with in-line connectors and maybe some replacement pipe. All this is easier said than done, by the way; hence I only do this job when the pipes are hot from the sun, and thereby far more pliable. I have loads of spare pipe and joins to cater for any emergency fix, or to include new or exclude trees in accordance with any tree moves since last season.

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You can see the result in the following images. Whilst the pipes are supposedly ‘set’ in position, the chooks move them a fair bit, as does Bonzo on his daily early morning belt around the farm!

The final job is to, one at a time, open the end valve of each pipe length and let any spiders, muck or dirt come flooding out. That is done for maybe 30-40 seconds until the very cold water from the underground river comes through, so I know each pipe is clean (dirty pipes clog up the drip hole mechanisms).

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10 thoughts on “Being a big drip…

  1. Good post Spike, I enjoyed it!

    Like

  2. And to think I have the audacity to simply bite into that orange without thinking the journey it travels and all the spider-webbing workdays involved. You’re pretty cool.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. A lot of effort…but so worth it in the end. You get amazing results ! ☺

    Like

  4. We think maybe you love what you do.
    🙂 m & jb

    Like

  5. dayphoto says:

    HUGE! HUGE! HUGE! Job…but water is the life blood!

    Linda
    http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Farming of any sort of size is a lot of work but hopefully always worth it.

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

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