Installing Drip Tape

The farm plot expansion ¬†brought on many new projects, one of which was extending irrigation to the new locations. Since we were already making changes, we decided this was a good time to invest in a higher end subsurface irrigation system. With the dry heat it saves a lot of water and brings it right down to the roots of the plants. But first we had to get the water¬†out there and it wasn’t going to be easy.

Going to the distribution box we found two leaking valves and a cracked manifold. Every project results in unexpected costs and of course, delays. A store trip dragged the timing to the next day and it took multiple tries to get everything set to full pressure with no leaks.

With the new valves in place, we dug a trench with the tractor and laid heavy 3/4 inch poly pipe to the new expansion and brought it to the surface with a simple 3/4 head. From there we added a filter/regulator combo and then ran softer distribution pipe down the ends of the rows and connected in the drip tape to it for each row. Some rows had multiple drip tapes inside a single row, such as the 4 internal rows of carrots inside a single raised bed. We laid 2 drip tapes on that one. Two rows of carrots in the middle, then the drip tapes on either side, with one more row of carrots on the outside.

We had difficulty getting consistent depth for all rows, mostly due to soil inconsistency. Laying the system down manually by digging a trench, covering it up and smoothing out the row again took a lot of time. If sales go well this year we will need to consider getting a walk behind tractor with attachments for laying tape and smoothing the rows. It will almost be a test to see which rows do better based on depth.

After pressurizing the system we let it run for 45 minutes and watched for evidence the drip tape was working. We could see circles forming proving that our project was a success!