replacing IBC tote valve

My rainwater harvesting system includes 5 IBC (intermediate bulk container) totes, each with a 1,000 litre (280 gal) capacity.  It was inevitable that the valve at the bottom of one would misfunction - in this case a crack developed at the handle shaft housing and water came out steadily. This meant I had to study up on how to replace a tote valve.  The valve is removed by turning anti clockwise the ridges on the metal coupler shown below. There are ibc valve spanner wrenches Read more [...]

water pump repair

I use two water pumps - a 1HP Water Ace (cost circa $150) with handy carrying handle which I move to various rainwater collection tanks and then pump to the larger storage tanks (2,800 gallons) and thence to the top of the hill; and a Wayne PC4 0.5HP pump (cost $130) whose sole purpose is to pump from my 2,400 gallon carport tank to the top of the hill.  At the top of the hill I have tanks which gravity feed the rainwater to the plantings.  The Wayne worked fine until a couple years ago when I Read more [...]

some winter tasks

charging the Takeuchi After some cold nights (12 below freezing) my Takeuchi bobcat refused to start.  Cold and tired battery.  The best way to charge the battery is to pull the cab forward on its hinges and then you have direct access to the battery.  It is heavy and best done with an assistant.  In the past I had an anchor point in front of the Take and winched the cab forward.  However, there was no anchor point for the Take this time just a 2,400 gal rainwater tank.  The last time I Read more [...]

mushroom shelter – improved irrigation

In a recent post I mentioned that mushroom production in my mushroom shelter has been poor due to inadequate watering.  The system I installed had a 0.5" diameter water pipe run from a nearby slightly higher rainwater collection tank to the ceiling of the mushroom shelter from which the water flowed via bubblers onto the spawn impregnated logs.  Water flow was weak and the bubblers often clogged. I rectified this by replacing the 0.5" diameter pipe with a 1" pipe and by eliminating the bubblers Read more [...]

earthworks – terraces, contour ditches and tree trunks

My permaculture readings have focused me on developing an edible forest garden and earthworks figure prominently in my designs.  Although I already have a number of different fruit trees in my orchard I decided to expand the selection and expect, by the end of November, to receive 2 goumi, 2 pawpaw, 3 kiwi (2 female, 1 male), and a medlar, aronia, sour cherry, and juneberry.  With these pending arrivals I have been at work preparing their planting sites on the side of the hill. The earthworks Read more [...]

rainwater harvesting – vigilance needed

As a matter of principal (or is it pride) I try do all my irrigation with rainwater collected in storage tanks.  Total storage capacity exceeds 6k gallons.  The design is fairly simply - I collect directly into 3 large storage tanks and then pump to two temporary tanks at the top of the hill, from which the water gravity feeds to the watering areas (see tab at top of website for full details).  I also collect rainwater at two remote locations (the chicken coop and tractor building) and pump the Read more [...]

unintended consequences – Bermudagrass, vegetation in contour ditches

When I began planting my vines and blueberry bushes in the field, Bermudagrass (also known as "devil grass" because it can be an highly aggressive difficult to eradicate weed) was not a problem.  Yes it lurked among the broad bladed tall grasses but it was one of many.  Now it is a major problem and it can thank me! Bermudagrass is a wiry perennial (easy to cut your fingers if you are pulling hard on it), and is low-growing (hence easily checked by taller grasses) and it spreads by above ground Read more [...]

rethinking contour ditches

I have excavated at least half a dozen contour ditches and, in the months following construction, they performed as advertised.  After heavy rains they dutifully filled with water and, because they are on contour i.e. horizontal, they held the rainwater and allowed it to infiltrate into the soil benefiting the plantings on each side of the ditch (actually the plantings on the side of the contour ditches which adjoined the lower slope did better, probably because there was more topsoil on that side Read more [...]

feeding the contour ditches

I have several contour ditches cut on the side of the hill.  Each ditch is horizontal, catches rainwater sliding down the hill and irrigates plantings horizontally aligned with it - such as tomatoes, fruit orchard, blueberries and blackberries.  Since almost all of my irrigation is with rainwater I try to make every drop count.  I lose water which streams beyond the reach of the ditches, especially down an access road I cut up the hill. Previously I dug finger drainage ditches which intercepted Read more [...]

rainwater from coop roof

When I built the new coop in October last year I fitted  a gutter which directs rainwater to an adjacent 250 gallon storage tank.  My thought was to (a) collect all rainwater landing on impervious surfaces, and (b) use the water to irrigate a chicken food growing area.  To grow food for the chicken I would have to cordon off a growing area and maintain it with vegetables and irrigation, which involves extra work, so instead I now give them excess vegetables from the vegetable garden.  And the Read more [...]