Posted: 25/04/2012 at 16:17
Something prompted me today that I hadn't finished this thread in relation to the irrigation system.
It seems a very long time ago now that I constructed this, but the first job was to lay the concrete base for the IBC's to sit on. An over flow pipe was also installed at this stage.
Once the concrete had cured, the IBC's were placed on the concrete base and then they were linked together. All six tanks are linked at the top, but only five of them are linked at the bottom. Rain water enters the first tank, fills this and then the tanks are filled one after the other. The first tank also act as a sump which is why it is not connected at the bottom to the other tanks. I am able to open this tank separately in order to flush out any debris. The remaining tanks whilst being linked, can also be shut off individually.
From the linked tanks, water is fed via gravity into a buried animal water trough. The trough has a ball valve similar to that of a domestic toilet systern which controls the amount of water in the trough. From this trough we are then able to fill watering cans. There is also a tap fitted to both outside tanks, which allows a hose pipe to be fitted. Sometime in the future I hope to fit an electric pump to the system, but the logistics of getting power to the tanks isn't that easy.
The overall water capacity is 6000litres, which whilst sounding a lot we seem to get through it at quite a rate. The only issue that I have had is trying to work out when to start to filling the tanks after having drained them down in the autumn. I left it too late year and we had run out by April! The tanks are currently full, but I'm not keen on keeping the water for longer than is necessary. I have found that whilst it is usable even after long periods of storage, it only manages to keep plants/veg alive rather than helping them to put on grow. This point is very obvious after a sustained dry period where the plants aren't really putting on much grow, but get one night of decent rain and the shoot off.
Since taking the above photos I have gradually been covering the tops of the tanks with old leaves etc to help keep the sun off the tanks to both keep the water fresh.
I guess that the composting system is next on the list to write about.