Grit Blogs > Adventures of Old Nebraska Dave

Spring Project: Gravity-fed Watering System

A photo of Nebraska DaveHey folks! Glad you could come back and sit a spell. I always enjoy seeing you. I've been busy this last week with spring projects. Things are starting to bloom around the Urban Ranch. I planted tulip, daffodil, and crocus last fall and they certainly have not disappointed me. I'm not sure what the official name for these tulips are but I call them "Tulips of fire." They are absolutely the best tulips that I have ever had on the ranch.

Tulips of fire

Daffodils in competition with tulips

The daffodils certainly were in competition with the tulips. I had a double row of about 60 or 70 of these guys. Their bloom cycle is winding down and I actually dead headed their little shriveled blooms today. They did put on quite the display for the neighborhood for a couple weeks. I want to interplant day lilies in this flower bed to keep the area alive as the daffodils die down in early summer.

Grandson Bradley jamming on mandolin

Hey how did that picture get in there? Oh well that's just my grandson jamming on the mandolin. He doesn't know how to do much other than make noise now, but who knows maybe someday. He sure got the hang of holding and strumming the strings quick.

Lifting the horse tank

Here's one of those summer projects that I am working on. I finally got ambitious this week and got started. It's a 1200 gallon horse tank that I want to use as a gravity feed watering system for my raised garden beds. It seems that I'm gone a lot for a week or ten days at a time and to keep the garden alive I need to have a watering system in place.

Piece of concrete found while digging in the backyard

The first thing that has to happen is of course the foundation to set the tank on. When digging in any urban ranch backyard one never knows what can be unearthed. Here you see a big chunk of concrete that apparently was used for something at one time or another and just buried in the backyard to get rid of it. Nice!!

A tree root that's also in the way of my digging

There's another hazard when digging in the urban backyard. One must be careful to clearly determine what exactly has been found before chopping it out. Buried utilities run through yards without a whole lot of logic. One day while working on another project last year I chopped through what I thought was root and suddenly my cable TV didn't work any more. So now I'm very cautious about digging in the yard. Anyway this is clearly a tree root, and I got the axe and made short order of the pesky thing.

Tamping the dirt

The next thing after the digging the trench is to pack the dirt as solid as possible. I use an 8-inch square tamper that weighs about 8 or 10 pounds.

Setting the anchor block

Next comes what I call setting the anchor block. Every thing has to be straight and level off the anchor block. This is the most important block of the foundation.

Leveling the block

The block has to be level both on the length of the block and on the width of the block. This first level of the foundation is the most time consuming of the entire project. If this level is not done right the whole project will turn out wrong. Especially since water will be in the tank and we all know that water will seek out a level surface.

First four foundation blocks

There's the first four blocks of what I think will be three high. This process took about three hours with the root chopping and clearing the buried treasures that I found and about three aspirin. There was even a golf ball about a foot and a half down in the dirt. You got me how it got there. I don't even golf. It's a pretty good start for the first day.

Testing the tank on the first blocks

I just rolled the tank up on the blocks to see how it was coming along. Only the front four blocks are finished. I still have to circle the entire rim of the tank with a block base. The center part will be filled with packed down dirt to support the tons of water in the tank.

Well that's about it for this week. Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful week. Oh wait one last thing.

Hot cap for tomatoes and taking a break

I finished my PCV pipe and trash bag hot cap. It turned out pretty good. I know there are way more inexpensive ways to hot cap tomatoes, but when I get an idea in my head I just got to try it out. Of course there's always time to take a break and drink coffee and think about the next project for the living poor man's patio. Well it's not quite so living right now, but it will be.

See ya next time and leave a comment. I do love to hear about what you think.