Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Mulching and Watering! Sunday, July 11th, 2010

Twice as many members came out to our mulching bee than expected (12), at 8:30 am Sunday morning. Bill also brought his young nephew, amd Susan Marie's visiting friend Dianne pitched in too. Many hands make light the load, and we completed the mulching job in just under an hour!

The hay on hand 'just made it' around the field, and later in the day the first couple of rows which were very heavily mulched were pilfered to even out the thinner areas of the patch .

Members piled hay on top of the hoses with the idea that doing so would help hold them in place, and make sure water from the drip irrigation system reached the roots and didn't just saturate the hay. In order to try and keep dirt from clogging the emitters, we elevated the hoses slighty by shoving a litlle hay under individual emitter locations. NOTE: later in the day the hoses were pulled up on all the rows and repositioned on top of the hay. More info below!

We shared some homemade treats and a group photo, thinking our work for the day was done! Scroll down for photos, details on the actual watering situation, and how it now works!

14 folks pitched in at 8:30 Sunday morning to mulch our healthy, blossoming plants


Above: Vern; Below: Herb, Ron and Max, Bill and nephew, Fox
July 11th, 2010 Mulching Crew: Vern, Karl, Mike, Bob, Fox, Bill,
Aiden, Max, Dianne, Kevin, Ron S, Susan Marie, Ron D,
                                            Fireweed on camera


The cistern tap was turned on as soon as we'd finished mulching. It didn't take long to determine that the pressure was not evenly distribued throughout the field. Mike and Fireweed stayed on to sort out the problem, and ended up hauling all of the hoses up from under the hay mulch and repositioning them on top to find a few leaks in the line and monitor emitters. LESSON LEARNED: it's advantageous to lie the hoses on top, instead of under the hay, inspite of reasons for doing the latter

Duct tape was used to repair the few weak spots, or new emitters were inserted where water was squirting out. Sections of hose between the rows that were not laying flat because this year's rows are closer together were trimmed in case the formerly arching sections were impeding the flow. These improvements seemed only marginal, as only the top section of the field appeared to be getting watered.

The tank valve was left open so that half the water in the cistern could be allowed to saturate the field over the next 3-4 hours. Upon return, it was again noted that the system was simply not distributing water to the whole patch. Advice obtained in the interim suggested that limiting flow to specific areas of the field with valves would likely allow for a more equitable distribution of water.

We found enough extra hose available to create a second line so that we could actually divide the quadrant in half and water the upper half seperately from the lower half and vice versa. Below are photos that illustrate the system now operating.

These will be added later......

Second Hilling, July 7th, 2010

We did it! The second hilling was completed on July 7th in about two hours time, and the hoses were moved onto our rows.  Many thanks to Derek, Jan and Mike for reconfiguring the water system for this year's crop layout, and to Charlie for arranging the filling of the water cistern. Scroll down for photos.

The plants had already started producing, as the odd baby spud was found near the surface. With hot sunny days now the norm, it was obvious that mulching, and getting the field watered as soon as possible should take place as soon as possible.

The plan was made to mulch on Sunday, July 11th at 8:30 am, then turn on the cistern tap! The idea of working before the sun gets too high in the sky was our motivation for picking this early start time, and six folks agreed to attend. 

We hoped that anyone who hadn't had the opportunity so far this year to participate in the field at least 3 out of the 4-5 times per season that SPUDS membership involves, and might be free on Sunday morning would join us for the mulching bee, bring a wheelbarrow, pitchfork along with the usual gloves, water, and a hat. About twice as many folks as expected showed up, and the following post will include that report, along with photos. 

Below- members at work busy hilling our 2010 crop for a second and final time, on July 7th
Above and Below: rolling out the hoses to position down each row
Above: Jan and Vern attach individual row drip hoses to main water line

 - group shot of hilling crew sharing fruit kabobs after their work is complete!
Jan, Bill, Charlie, Mike, Bob, Ron D, Karl, Vern and Susan Marie
 (missing from photo: Sheila and Ron who had just left, and Fireweed on camera)