Mister and tap repairs

Now that Spring has sprung, it’s time to repair some of the broken garden plumbing that inevitably occurs.

I may discover more once I turn on the garden water (after the overnight temperatures stop being below freezing), but for now I was aware of two breakages.

The first one was a burst pipe for the deck mister system, that we can turn on in the heat of summer to cool us down with a gentle mist.

I had accidentally left a valve closed, preventing water from draining from the pipe, so unsurprisingly it froze and burst:

Burst pipe

The reason the valve was closed was this system also had a problem where the tap wasn’t fully closing, perhaps due to some debris in the pipe, resulting it in dripping:

Tap

So I removed the broken pipe. Here you can see the old pipe in the foreground, a new length of pipe on the left, and a cart with my plumbing toolbox:

Removed pipe and cart with tools

The repaired pipe:

Repaired pipe

I replaced the dodgy tap with a ball valve, which while not quite as easy to turn as a tap, will be more reliable:

Repaired pipe and valve

The second breakage was a tap in a lavender bed, snapped off at the base (probably kicked by a deer or landscaper):

Broken tap

The repaired tap:

Repaired tap

Re-buried:

Re-buried

While I was doing plumbing repairs, I took the opportunity to extend the pipe for a tap by the small pond, that was too short:

Too short tap

I cut the pipe and inserted a short length to raise up the tap:

Raised tap

Re-buried:

Re-buried tap

(Though I was just thinking that maybe I should have also taken that opportunity to add a second tap there, so I don’t need the splitter. One fork of that goes to the small pond auto-filler valve, the other is a hose to refill the feral cat water. Oh well, the splitter is fine.)

It’ll be interesting to see if anything else is broken, when I turn on the water.

I’ll also be doing some plumbing to add taps in the greenhouse, but I don’t have enough pipe for that yet. Ordered for delivery from Home Depot, along with materials for a couple of other projects.

Bee water pool

Like any creatures, bees get thirsty. So they have to get water from somewhere, for themselves and their hive. They also use water to control the humidity of the hive, as part of the process of making honey.

We have a big pond they can drink from, but it’s easy for bees to drown if they’re not careful. We also have a stream, and in summer a swimming pool, but those aren’t ideal water sources either (Jenn has rescued several bees from the pool when swimming).

So we also have a small kiddie pool that has rocks in it to act as safe landing zones for the bees. It is by the closest tap to the hives, near the greenhouse. Bees will fly for miles to find water, but if they have a ready source close to the hive, they don’t need to go to less ideal places.

The pool was immediately below the tap, but that made it hard to turn it on to top up the pool, when lots of bees are buzzing around. So I recently added a splitter and a couple of short hoses; one going into the pool, which can now be a bit further away, and another for use when working in the greenhouse (until I get around to adding taps in there):

Hoses and bee water pool

I also added a couple of bits of wood as additional landing pads for the bees:

Bee water pool

As a temporary thing, I set up the mobile cam above the pool, so I could watch the bees using it, just for fun. In the above picture, you can see the beehives and greenhouse in the background, to give a better idea of the location.

One interesting observation was that birds and cats also take advantage of the water source. Here’s a crow drinking from the bee pool:

Bird drinking from bee water pool

A cat drinking:

Cat drinking from bee water pool

Bees drinking from the pool; notice some on the wood, some around the edge, and a bunch on the rocks:

Bees drinking from bee water pool

If I zoom in on the pile of rocks, you can more clearly see lots of bees:

Zoom on bees

A crow drinking again; it doesn’t care about the bees:

Bird drinking from bee water pool

Another cat:

Cat drinking from bee water pool

The crow decided to walk across the platforms, somewhat unsuccessfully:

Bird walking in bee water pool

Chicken coop tap repair

Sometimes the pipes for the garden taps will freeze or get cracked over winter, despite turning off the water supply and draining them. I often don’t discover that until I turn the water on again in the spring.

So, when I turn on the water, I examine each tap (we have lots) to see if there’s any leakage. This year, the only damage was from the two-headed taps next to the new chicken coop, which had cracks in the top of the vertical pipe, and above the T-junction:

Burst pipe

So yesterday I removed the damaged portion:

Cut pipe

Then replaced it with new pipe bits (reusing the taps):

Repaired pipe

Here’s a view a bit further back, showing the pipe cutter, silicone tape, primer, and cement (and my plumbing toolbox):

Plumbing tools

Irrigation & bark

Yesterday I added irrigation for some of the new trees in the field. I didn’t have enough parts to do all of them, so will have to go to Home Depot sometime to complete that, but at least a bunch of them are now getting watered:

The corkscrew willow tree is putting on some leaves:

As is the tulip tree:

Irrigation for the leyland cypress additions:

And extended the irrigation to two of the new apple trees, but the new third row doesn’t have irrigation yet, since I didn’t have enough pipe:

Here’s one of the apple tree additions:

Blossoms on one of the new apple trees:

I also shoveled a bunch of bark onto the triangle area between the veggie garden, old chicken coop, and back lawn. This area used to be part of the lawn, so has just had dead grass for a couple of years, so good to finally get it barked:

Another angle:

Turning on garden water

During the winter months, I turn off the water supply to the gardens, to prevent the pipes from freezing and bursting. Once the overnight temperatures are safely above freezing, I turn them on again, which I did yesterday.

This year, I didn’t have any burst pipes… but I did have one broken tap to repair, that was probably kicked by a landscaper or deer:

An easy repair:

I could then turn on the water. For the east side, I have a valve box that I installed last year, that lets me individually control the water to the chicken coops, veggie garden & shop, and pond/gazebo areas (plus an underground tap that I used over winter to refill the chicken water):

For the west side, there’s another valve box. The boxes tend to fill with dirt, which is fine as it protects them from freezing, but has to be dug out a bit:

I then added water timers to the various garden beds. Large areas typically have automatic timers like this:

Here’s the repaired tap again, with a manual timer attached. We use these manual timers for lower-priority irrigation areas:

I then started filling the fountain. Here’s the frog that lives in the center of the fountain:

The fountain nearly full. We plan to remove the flower girl statue part of the fountain at some point:

I also scooped leaves out of the small pond at the end of the stream. That took a while; it was pretty much chock full of them. Here, you can see the pump:

Then I turned on the pump, and the stream started circulating. So nice to have that running water again, and I’m sure the cats will enjoy it too:

Finally, I mowed all of the lawns and the field:

Mowing selfie:

A busy day of garden maintenance!

Garden plumbing by chicken coops

I have a couple of taps by the old chicken coop, but wanted to add some by the new one too. 

So first up, I dug a ditch for the new pipe, intercepting an existing pipe:

Then I laid out the parts:

And assembled them:

Looking closer, there’s a valve to shut off the pipe after this point (water flows from right to left), since that isn’t used, plus a capped expansion point for possible future use:

And a two-headed tap, so so I can have both a hose to refill the chicken water, plus a timer and irrigation for the window boxes:

And another expansion point inside the chicken run, for a possible tap there:

I also wanted to replace an existing junction next to the old coop, that had a valve with a broken handle:

The new multi-valve system, that lets me shut off water to different areas of the garden, and includes an underground tap that I could use in winter, when the rest of the taps are off:

Here’s the overhead view, showing the valve box:

Orchard irrigation

The new orchard has been watered via a temporary hose & sprinkler recently, but I’ve finally got around to installing proper irrigation.

First I needed to fix a broken tap:

Thusly:

Then I dug a trench and added a pipe and tap for a new row of the orchard that didn’t have a tap before:

While I was at it, I intercepted a pipe and added a tap by the white gazebo, for the new cherry trees there:

Then I could add irrigation sprinker heads around those trees:

And each of the orchard rows:

Extending irrigation to new trees

Much as I’d like to be working on the coop, to get it ready for occupation, it’s a hot day with no sign of rain for a while, so I thought I’d better add irrigation for some new trees around the property. Meanwhile, Jenn started painting the siding; more on that probably tomorrow.

Irrigation pipe inside PVC pipe as conduit under the path.

The “dessert” apple trees (as opposed to cider apples); the one in the foreground is a McIntosh variety that was planted earlier this year, now with irrigation.

Two dogwood trees and dogwood shrubs around the pool area, now irrigated.

Irrigation for a couple of the new cider apple trees.

And a couple more.

A branch off the row of apple trees out to the new oak tree in the field, again buried in conduit. Nothing like digging a ditch in 90°F heat.


Irrigation for the oak tree.

Garden plumbing: pond tap repair

It’s warming up, so it’s finally time to turn on the garden water. We have lots of taps around the property, divided into south, west, and east zones. They are normally turned off and drained over winter, to avoid them freezing and bursting.

Unfortunately, I left the east-side taps on too late last year (so I could refill the chicken water), and I had a couple of bursts: one in the veggie garden, and one by the pond.

So before I could turn on the east water, I had to fix those, which I did late today. While I was at it, I extended the tap by the pond to add a second tap closer to the pond, a bit lower down, so it can be used to drain the water out of the system (and top up the pond, as needed).

I must say, it was fun to get back to garden plumbing projects, even a tiny one like this.

Here’s the burst and resulting ice sculpture, from back in January:

And today’s repair & enhancement (not yet buried):