Watering our orchard and garden has been a debacle these past few years. Our Shurflo 24 volt DC booster pump made for small installations has been taxed beyond its recommended limits. The pump is about what would be expected to use for a RV, and we have been using it for our 1,110 sq. ft. home and our garden and almost two hundred feet away, our orchard. Since summer has been upon us early this year and the heat waves of 100+ degrees in June, which is unheard of, this became the year of finding a solution to our water problem.
When we first designed the home, we decided to have a second cistern placed, knowing our 1 gallon per minute well would not be able furnish our future watering needs. After careful planning and some budgeting during the spring of this year, it was decided that the secondary water system would be brought online this summer for the orchard to water the peaches, apples, pears, blueberries, and raspberries. The secondary water system would have a secondary pump that would use the secondary cistern and provide enough water through soaker hoses to keep the trees well fed, unlike the starvation rations they have had in the past.
There are some rules we decided to follow when using our secondary water supply. We want to make sure our cistern remained fresh and did not become stagnant over the fall and winter months. First, at the beginning of watering season, we empty the stagnant water far from the house into a sandy loam, forested area. The forest loves the extra water as well as the ferns and ground shrubs. Next, we begin watering the orchard through a two zone system of soaker hoses. We run the cistern dry each day we water which is between a 24 or 48 hour period, but no longer. When the season is over, we will gather up the hoses and place them into storage for the fall, winter, and spring. We then will blow out the remaining lines to the pump and run the cistern completely dry so the pump will be ready to be primed for the next season.
After hooking up the second AC pump a friend gave to us, we have been watering our orchard more. We have never seen our orchard so alive and healthy. The trees and blueberry bushes are greener, fuller and the branches seem to be reaching higher. I mentioned this to Krista, thinking it was my imagination, but she is seeing it too. No more starvation rations for our trees, and hopefully next year, we will begin to finally see a crop of fruit that can be canned and preserved for the winter season.