Greg Schultz
January 31, 2014 | Greg Schultz

Irrigation: Part 1

A necessity for growing grapes in southern Oregon is irrigation.  Our long, hot, dry summers demand it.  When we began searching for our future home and vineyard property, irrigation rights were on our “must have” list.  We got them!

 Our 2.6 acre property has a fabulous underground 10-zone automated sprinkler system—think golf course.  With water rights from the Talent Irrigation District (TID), the irrigation system has been used to provide water for growing hay.  It was designed, installed, and ideally suited for that purpose.  Grapes, however, require something altogether different.

We called Mike Skinner of Skinner Irrigation out to help us decide the best way to modify the system for the drip irrigation system that the vineyard needs.  I showed him the original design sketch of the existing underground system.  Mike recalled making this design sketch many years ago—what a blessing!  It did not take him long to rework it and provide us with a materials list for the modifications.

To get started, we once again called on Mike McQuade of Valley Irrigation and Dirt Works.  Mike had installed the original irrigation system and had been out from time to time for minor maintenance work.  We needed him to install a new pump and to quickly re-connect some of the lines that were destroyed by the ripping and tilling done earlier (topic of previous blog) so that our recently planted fruit trees could be watered.  We also wanted to talk with him about the re-design and all the work that lay ahead—what we could do ourselves and when we would need his help.

Mike McQuade using the "big equipment" to make a trench in our reddish sandy loam soil to the orchard.

Preview of the next blog:  Cutting, gluing, and installing lots of PVC pipe and flexible hose for the drip system.

One day closer to a vineyard…


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