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My Greywater Orchard Irrigation Project

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
First a little background; I have a 1/2 acre lot on the East side of the Las Vegas Valley (Nevada), water is expensive here so the previous owner just turned off the irrigation system about 6 years ago, since acquiring the property about 3 years ago I have been exploring different ways to utilize the land, cut down on dust, and not bankrupt myself with water bills. 

For various reasons I kept coming back to fruit trees. A little research led me to a system of high density orchard keeping called "backyard orchard culture" and low and behold the University of Nevada has an experimental orchard here that has been testing those practices in our valley since 1995! That was huge, now I knew it could be done and more importantly what to do do and what not to do.

I put my orchard in 4 N-S rows 9' apart. The 2 Eastern most rows have 7 trees each spaced 4' apart and the 2 western most rows have 4 trees each again spaced 4' apart. The first picture is a view looking west.

Now comes the Greywater part. I'm cheap and hate wasting anything so I got to thinking about greywater, my laundry area (pic 2) is on the back porch and had been just dumping in the backyard because I hadn't tied it into the septic system yet. I had to install a surge tank (pic 3) which collects the water from the washing machine and allows it to be released in a slightly slower manner into the drip system. The drip system came from IrriGRAY superior graywater performance affordable price and is designed to handle greywater, it came with a filter (pic 4), 5/8" poly distribution line, and 150' of 1/2" dripperline with 4 gallon per hour drippers built into it every 12". My orchard area has a slight N-S fall to it so I ran the dripperline 1' north of each line of trees, these lines are run E-W and therefore end up being spaced 4' apart. 

The final part of the system is mulch, I hauled in enough ground up tree trimmings from the tree service companies to cover the entire orchard area to a depth of 6". The system has been operating now for 4 months. I can go anywhere in the orchard and pull back the mulch, even dead center between two sets of lines, and the soil is moist and full of worms. The filter is a 400 micron filter and it is claimed you only need to clean it twice a year, I have cleaned it twice now and neither time did it need it. 

Max
Attached Thumbnails
My Greywater Orchard Irrigation Project-greywater10.jpg   My Greywater Orchard Irrigation Project-greywater03.jpg   My Greywater Orchard Irrigation Project-greywater04.jpg   My Greywater Orchard Irrigation Project-greywater06.jpg  

Max from Vegas

Check out my blog at: The Fruity Chicken

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Max from Vegas

Check out my blog at: The Fruity Chicken

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post #2 of 21

What kind of fruit trees do you have? I was in Las Vegas around 10 years ago and I recall most people not having lawns because it cost too much to water them, so fruit trees is quite an accomplishment.

post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 

I currently have apples, peaches, apricots, plums, pluots, apriums, pomegranates, and mulberry. I have tried to space out the harvest dates, my goal was to have an early, mid, and late of each variety. The pomegranate's are along the fence line to create screening in the summer and the mulberry's are in the chicken run to eventually supply shade and forage for the girls.

 

Max

Max from Vegas

Check out my blog at: The Fruity Chicken

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Max from Vegas

Check out my blog at: The Fruity Chicken

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post #4 of 21

Does your weather get cold enough there to grow apples? I know the tree's themselves will grow fine, but I have always been told that without some cold weather (below freezing) they will not bear fruit. I'm not sure if that's true or not. I guess if the university there is getting sucessfull crops , you'll be fine.


Edited by JimnTer - 6/12/12 at 1:26pm
post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 

I always thought the same thing until I talked to the guys at the orchard and then did some research on the web. There are warm season apples which is what I planted, currently I have a Fuji, Red Fuji, and a Pink Lady. Apparently Israel and Australia have developed apples such as these that have a very low "chill" requirement that produce high sugar content fruit in our heat. 

Max from Vegas

Check out my blog at: The Fruity Chicken

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Max from Vegas

Check out my blog at: The Fruity Chicken

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post #6 of 21

That is a great way to use greywater.

 

Does the water you use for the orchard just come from your washing machine, or do you also collect the water from sinks?

 

Why do you need a filter? What is being caught in the filter?

post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bullitt View Post

That is a great way to use greywater.

 

Does the water you use for the orchard just come from your washing machine, or do you also collect the water from sinks?

 

Why do you need a filter? What is being caught in the filter?

Currently I am only using the water from my laundry. The main reason being that the majority of construction out here, including my house, is slab on grade which makes it is very difficult to access and separate the plumbing from inside the house. 

 

The filter on the system I installed is a 400 micron filter which is actually a very open filter compared to what is usually installed on a drip system. I believe they are usually 150 micron (remember more microns equal bigger passages) in regular drip systems. 

 

The filter is primarily catching hair, think of the lint filter in your dryer. 

 

I have been brainstorming trying to figure out a way to channel the water from my bathtub into my system but unfortunately the wet wall in our bathroom is an interior wall.

 

Max

Max from Vegas

Check out my blog at: The Fruity Chicken

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Max from Vegas

Check out my blog at: The Fruity Chicken

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post #8 of 21

muckmuck - build yourself an outdoor tub like you see on those DIY shows and in commercials, I'm thinking of the one with the couple, each in their own bathtub on the beach, holding hands, watching the sunset ...  lau.gif

post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wyoDreamer View Post

muckmuck - build yourself an outdoor tub like you see on those DIY shows and in commercials, I'm thinking of the one with the couple, each in their own bathtub on the beach, holding hands, watching the sunset ...  lau.gif

Ha Ha Ha! The wife might draw the line there. My 6 year old granddaughter already pees in the garbage can in the bathroom so she can take it out to pour in the compost pile.

Max from Vegas

Check out my blog at: The Fruity Chicken

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Max from Vegas

Check out my blog at: The Fruity Chicken

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post #10 of 21

What laundry products do you recommend for those of us who want to use our grey water? We can do this at our acreage.
 

Suburban dweller aiming for greater self sufficiency, better nutrition and humane food.

 

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Suburban dweller aiming for greater self sufficiency, better nutrition and humane food.

 

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