Posts Tagged ‘irrigation’

Waterworks completed

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Among many other projects on the go simultaneously last summer was the installation of some water storage capacity and supply lines to the various buildings on the quinta. The design and layout gives a good head of gravity-fed water to all parts of the quinta, and provides buffering for the vagaries of daily stream flow in late summer. The two tanks constructed from pre-cast concrete rings were fairly quick to construct. Finishing them proved more of a problem.


Catch the rain

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

With the addition of guttering to the roofs of the buildings we’re renovating, it’s always been the intention to catch and store the rainwater runoff. It’s at this time of year, when the land is parched and the stream down to its bare minimum, that a few thousand litres can make all the difference. The east side of the quinta furthest from the stream suffers the most. Here it’s so dry it’s been pointless trying to establish new plantings or even dream of growing annuals without installing some sort of irrigation to support them. Long-term, the aim is to grow ground cover plants and shrubs that, over time, will increase the moisture holding capacity of the soil by adding organic material to it, and shading the soil from the harshest effects of the sun, but until we get to that point – and even when we do – water in the summer will be important.

Offloading IBC tanks - or at least attempting to


Vegetable lessons

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

It was my initial intention to concentrate on our energy generation and building renovation this year, but the temptation to get started on growing our own food was irresistible and we dug over part of a couple of terraces in the Spring to create some temporary beds and plant a few vegetables.

The long-term plan is to create raised vegetable beds in a no-dig, minimal-rotation system of cultivation based on well mixed companion planting amongst the (eventual) forest garden, but the thick mat of nettle and bramble roots, mint and dock meant that initially the ground needed to be dug over to remove these very persistent plants and give the vegetables a chance. (The soil we’ve dug so far is good and deep, but needs a lot more organic matter and life in it. Very few worms.) We also opted for the conventional rows of vegetables, mainly for speed and convenience at this early stage. At least it would give us the chance to observe what works and what doesn’t.

Vegetable beds on the yurt terrace

Yurt vegetable beds



Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Summer is here and it’s watering time. Even with the few vegetables we have growing this year, watering them is already taking up a good couple of hours every evening. Part of that is to do with the fact that we are mostly watering them with a watering can. I’ve re-opened a couple of irrigation channels to help things along and got them working reasonably well, but it’s still not hugely efficient. I figured we could do better. But what to do?

Today I bought a reel of hosepipe. I knew I had a large funnel somewhere, and a ball of twine. With 15 minutes’ work with the ball of twine, an hour clearing vegetation from the top of the waterfall, a ladder, and a bungy strap, we now have a working irrigation system for the main vegetable bed on the yurt terrace. A bit Heath Robinson, but considerably more efficient than the watering can.

The watering system: source in waterfall