First we need to lay out the pipes. Every 30 foot pipe is lifted into place and attached together manually. The reel and gun are set into place, and the irrigation line is stretched across the field. As the gun sprays the water across the field, it is slowly pulled back towards the reel.
The water pump at the pond is very strong. It can pull the water out of the pond and send it up to a mile away. Once the water reaches the reel it has enough force to shoot out of the gun 150 feet in each direction. This creates a path of 300 feet that is irrigated each time we set up the line.
Then the checking and double checking begins. We need to constantly check the spray to make sure there are no unexpected blockages and that the hose is being coiled on the reel properly. As soon as the hose is fully back on the reel we need to stop the irrigation for two reasons. We don’t want to flood the end of the field nor do we want to waste any water. Since irrigation runs 24 hours a day this means interrupted work during the day and interrupted sleep at night. Once the section of the field is irrigated, we rearrange the pipes and start the next section.
We irrigate because the alternative is worse. No rain = no crops. Be sure to check out “Spud Smarts – About Growing Potatoes” for more information about how we grow potatoes.