And some comments on the bees…
I slipped up last Thursday after work with the goal of getting the drip system functional. The forecast was for hot dry weather and the young plants needed the moisture.
Recall last weekend, I had gotten the manifolds all glued in place. I had put a 1″ threaded joint in the pipe from the anti-siphon valve to the manifold, that will be for disconnect this fall. I had also gotten the 1/2″ drip lines connected to the manifolds in each of the beds with the help of my bee keeper friend (who came up to help chase the swarm).
I wanted to flush the lines and make sure each of the drip holes were unblocked from the sludge build up. I had done a few of the lines on the weekend. I stopped by Lowe’s and picked up 36 – 1/2″ end caps. I had glued the end caps on last summer because the water pressure was blowing them off, causing the bed to flood. I took the saw, cut the end caps off and flushed the lines. There was a lot of accumulated stuff that came out! I used a 1/16″ drill bit to run in and out of the blocked holes. Healthy sprays of water. Cleaning the holes is a good project to do on a hot day. I was plenty drenched!
I pressed on the end caps. I had previously fiddled around with turning the pressure regulators down in pressure and then once I figured out which way was open/close on the valves, I was able to reduce the pressure in the lines some more. I haven’t been able to get it down to the 4-6″ spray that Jeff Banks recommended, but it is much better than it was. I am hopeful that I won’t blow open the manifold/pipe connections, the couplers or the end caps. If I do and can’t get the pressure down more, I will have to glue. I would probably switch to some type of threaded end cap because it is clear that the pipes will need regular flushing.
I finished all the beds that had plants in them. I think we have 6-7 beds that are not planted yet. It was starting to get dark so I scrambled to get the controllers turned on. I was going to do a bed by bed walk through but was running out of time. I set all beds to 15 minutes, every other day. Crossed my fingers that all beds valves are working from the controller (I had tested each valve manually as flushed the lines).
I wanted to visit the 3 new hives before I left. I purposely didn’t check them when I got to the farm because I had to make sure the drip lines were working. I stopped by the hives on the way down the drive way as I was leaving. I saw bees flying in/out all three hives. Certainly the swarm hive and the hive with the healthy nuc seemed to have more bees, which is not surprising. I lifted the tops off of each hive. There was a similar amount of syrup in all three feeders and it seemed like there were bees coming up to feed, again fewer bees on the hive where the nuc got too hot. I listened closely to all three hives and I didn’t hear the telltale buzzing of a queen-less hive. I left the farm with my fingers crossed for them.
The wife is traveling this week and I am “Dad”. Will have to see if I can slip in a time to visit the bees and the irrigation this week before the weekend.