Gravel and Irrigation

Ever seen 100 tons of gravel? Well, now you have!  So why do we have 100 tons (5 dump trucks) of gravel??  To cover the black landscape fabric to keep the plants from frying.  See, we heard many stories of the black fabric getting to hot for the plants and we searched for alternatives – white and even grey fabric.  But they don’t really exist (as of writing this) for our purposes.  The white and grey fabrics let in too much light and don’t stop weeds.  The light fabrics also don’t last being exposed to the elements.  So, it was back to black fabric that would stop weeds and last outside – but it still might fry the plants.  We found that we have a quarry about a mile away and that sealed the idea – we’d cover all the rows with local granite gravel.  5 dump trucks delivered the rock and during the planting party, we put mounds around the plants.  We’ll most likely need to have grass growing in the walkways before we put the rest on, to help hold it on the sides of the rows.

How are you going to water allllll those plants?  With an irrigation system!  We knew it would take a LOT of time to water each plant by hand (with a hose, a water tank, etc) and wanted something more time efficient.  We worked with a local company, WP Law to get all the parts and pieces.  We’re doing 1 gallon per hour drip emitters at each plant split between 5 “zones”.  The zones create smaller groups of rows so we’ll have a maximum amount of water going out an hour and the timer will control each zone starting and stopping.

The tubing has to be pulled out for each row, staked down, holes punched and emitters popped in.  It sounds straightforward enough, but the tubing expands and contracts with the heat of the day, the emitters move, and the tube can twist.  We learned to punch the holes to place the emitters at the time of day we’d be watering.  Some of the movement still doesn’t make sense though, so we’re still working with it.  It’s going to take a bit to dig in all the irrigation tubing and set up all the parts, so we made a temporary connection to start watering until then.

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