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April 9, 2012 | Vineyard | OS VINE

Irrigation Expansion

We will be planting 2 acres of Petit Verdot and 1/3 acre of Moscato Giallo in just a couple of weeks. This will mean an addition of 7 more rows of grapes (each row is 1/3 acre long). To expand the vineyard, the underground drip irrigation system must also be expanded.

In the beginning of February, I posted about the underground drip irrigation tape being put down for the new planting. The water is pumped from the well through pipe to the filter station and then through PVC pipe to the underground drip tape. The PVC pipe carrying the water from the filter station to the tape must now be added.

A backhoe was rented to dig three trenches (one on either end of the vineyard and one in the center) which are 3-4 ft deep and about 67 ft long.

Once the trenches were dug, pipe was cut to the appropriate lengths. As with most things around here, it was a family affair!

Once cut, the pipe was then put into the trench and glued together.

You can see in the picture below, on the sides of the open trench, black tape coming out and connecting down into the PVC pipe.

Now comes the task of filling in the trenches. Since the backhoe was returned, it is time for some muscle building!

While underground drip irrigation provides a much more efficient use of water (almost zero evaporation to the air unlike above ground sprinkler systems), there is one big problem - gophers. They appreciate our breaking up the dirt for them. As they tunnel along, they criss-cross our tapes,  gnawing right through as they go! And, as you probably guessed, they leave the water leaks for us to repair. So far we have patched over 20 holes on one half!


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