One Drip at a Time

Lord Howe Island Thornleigh Irrigation

Over winter, Brenden has been busy installing a new drip irrigation system. Like on so many Australian farms, water is in short supply at Thornleigh. Further, Thornleigh is an unusual farm in that being situated on a tiny island, it is dependent on rainwater.

Lord Howe Island drip irrigation thornleigh
A valve and nozzle for the connection of drip lines

Drip irrigation is a technique to extract maximum utility from the rainwater we are able to harvest. Rain is stored in massive tanks at the centre of the property. It is then fed to a powerful pump, which pressurises a network of pipes.

 

Irrigation Pump
The irrigation pump and pressure vessel

These pipes run throughout the gardens, and off them branch valves. Each valve sits at the end of a garden row, and provides a connection for a drip line.

Lord Howe Island Thornleigh Irrigation
A valve branching off a pressurised water line

Drip lines are water pipes punctuated at regular intervals to allow water to slowly drip out. They feature a steadily decreasing inner diameter so that they maintain equal pressure throughout their length. When compared to other forms of irrigation like sprinklers or flooding, drip lines lose far less water to evaporation.

Drip Eze drip line
Drip line – Note the small outlet hold, followed by a decrease in diameter

This new drip irrigation system will help us grow crops consistently throughout the year, particularly in the summer heat. We will also be better equipped to deal with drought conditions. We can’t wait to show you (and feed you) what we grow using this new system!