Irrigating 12,000 plants

Irrigating 12,000 plants

After the ditches were dug and cleared out, we next had to run a drip irrigation system to raised beds, instead of flood irrigation. Here is the day our pump, media filters, and piping were delivered.Irrigation delivery to farm

We chose a spot close to the ditch and new 220 power panel for a pad to support the heavy pump and sand filters.New pad for pump and filter

We had purchased a Netafim Dual Sand medium filter. Water from the ditch contains a lot of silt and salts. If we did not filter out any large particles, the tiny micron filters located at each plant, would soon clog up. Here we are assembling and installing the filter. Although the instruction booklet was better than your typical IKEA pictures, it was still quite a challenge . Sand filterSand filter 2

This next photo shows part of the back flow flush piping. The larger micron particles that are trapped by the sand filter are periodically backflushed from the filters and sent back to the ditch. Any ditch water that is not sent to the plants in the field is returned to the North Fork at the top of our property and works its way downstream to meet the Colorado river miles away. Backflush

One critical piece of the system is an accurate pressure gauge . We watch this closely as the water starts to fill the irrigation lines. The pressure should rise steadily to about 60 lbs of pressure. Any major deviation and we know there is a problem in the system. The pump makes a higher sound as it fills the lines, and then when the pressure gauge shows the lines are full, the sound decreases to a comfortable hum. If there is a leak or problem with the lines, the higher pitch continues and the pressure does not read steady. Then you have to go into the field and figure out the issues. 

Pressure gauge

We installed an Easy Dose system which is used to add amendments to the water being sent out thru the pumps. It is a tremendous advantage to be able to send out the necessary amendments directly to the plants. More on amendments in a future post.

Easy Dose system

Next we start to run the solid Poly 2" lines from the pump to the beginning of each field.

2" Poly lines

At the beginning of each field we place either a single valve or a Y valve, so we can shut off the flow to each individual field and divert the water to another field.


Across the top of each field we run a flexible pipe call lay flat. As opposed to the rigid poly pipe, this one collapses flat when no pressurized water is running. This allows us to run the tractor across the lay flat at the end of each row.


 Lay flat 

There is a preformed grommet built in to the lay flat, at whatever interval you will be spacing out your rows. The first year we chose rows that would be 5' apart. Next we screwed in a 90 degree elbow.

90 degree elbow

Next, we are able to connect the drip tape that will extend out the length of each row.

 Connecting drip tape

Lay flat and drip tape.

The next post will show you the process to create the 8 miles of rows necessary to effectively space out 12,00 plants, with enough room for them to become fully mature, loaded with huge flowers.

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