"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Saturday, 4 July 2015

'N Boer maak 'n plan...

(translation of the title of this post : a farmer makes a plan)

There are roughly 40 lemon trees in our orchard - 98% grown from pips, and the balance from cuttings.

Yeah, I know - what are you going to do with the fruit from 40 lemon trees?

I have a couple of idea's.  But I will have to wait until they actually start producing fruit in quantity (and hopefully quality lol).

So far I am getting flowers, and a couple of really small baby lemons, but 99.9% of those are falling off.  Why?  I have no idea.  We are feeding the soil, adding the ashes from the Rosie, keeping them watered, and have even put up more of the privacy wattle fence to protect them from the hectic south easterly winds which blow in summer.

My worm farm is also due an empty out - which means worm casings and worm tea.  And I intend using some of that worm tea on the lemon trees.

Which means I need a sprayer :)

I tried using a 10 lts spray bottle (which has to be pumped in order to create the pressure to use) slung over my shoulder, but found that it took 3 - 4 hours of back-breaking walking, and spraying, and refilling in order to complete the task.

We needed something more hard-core :)
I spotted this beauty (in the pics above) for sale, which would work with my quad bike.  But, at over ZAR10 000 (without the trailer in the far right pic) it's a bit more than we were prepared to pay.

So, RMan set to making one :)

We purchase a pump.  And a 100 lt water container.  And some tubing.  And some straight tube joins and t-joins.  And hose clamps.  And spray heads.  And a hand held sprayer.  And a couple of in-line taps.  And an electrical isolator switch.  And a ratchet tie (to secure the tank to the quaddie).  Electrical wires and cable ties we already had.

The pump and the container were the most expensive parts - the pump was + / - R900, and so was the container.

But, a bit of fiddling here, and a bit of fiddling there, and this is what we ended up with...
1  the outlet hose from the tank to the pump
2  the water pipe to the handheld pump
3  the water pipe to the back spray heads
4  the in-line tap "valve" to prevent water being sent
 to the spray heads when it is not required
5  an in-line filter from the water tank
 to the water pump
6  a return pipe from the pump to the tank with
 in-line  tap "valve" - to regulate the water pressure
 and redirect excess water back to the tank.
Note : I took these pics shortly after RMan had
 completed his construction and whilst he was on
 his first trial run.  He has since secured those
 wires leading to the battery with more than
Now we are able fill the tank with the organic "muti" (translation : medicine - which in this case = nutrition), hop on the quaddie, start it up, and take a slow drive whilst we smell the scent of lemon blossoms:)
The pipe labelled 3 in the first pic leads to the 3 X
 spray heads (1) at the back of the quaddie in the
 pic above.  When the red in-line tap valve
 (below the tank and in the middle of the pic above)
to the the spray heads is closed, then the water
is pumped to the hand held sprayer only (2).
But, that tap also allows us to regulate the
flow of water to the spray heads and the hand held
 sprayer simultaneously - which means we can spray
from the top / middle, and down on the bottom
 branches at the same time when necessary
We can fill the tank with worm tea from the worm farm, or with tea from alpaca poo.  Being 100 ltrs the contents of the tank last ages - we have to fill it at least twice in order to do the lemon orchard.

That is soooo much easier than walking round with a shoulder strapped 10 lt spray bottle which entails having to keep stopping, removing, pumping (to increase the pressure) before re-hoisting it onto my shoulder again in order to continue spraying before the next re-fill - which always came too quickly lol.
The pump is powered from the quaddie battery.
When the pump is not in use, the isolator switch
1 is in the off / disconnected position.
2 shows you the in-line tap "valve" to the back
3 shows you the in-line tap "valve" on the
return pipe to the tank
And, by closing the in-line tap to the back sprayers completely, we can, if we so desire, feed the ground / root area only of the lemon trees, fruit trees, grape vines and my veggie patches by means of the hand held sprayer.

Clever RMan :)

The cost?  Just over a 1/4 of the cost of purchasing the "real McCoy" :)


Dawn McHugh said...

brilliant idea cant wait until Martin is here full time and able to do things like that, your lemon trees might need misting to help the fruit set or could it be lack of pollination, do you have a bee hive you could plonk in the orchard as mine are in the greenhouse I hand pollinate a lot of the time although I dont have 40 to look after, your husband is very clever :-)

Mum said...

There's clever. Happy spraying.

Quinn said...

Good job! And I'm glad it's lemon blossoms you're smelling whilst spraying alpaca poo tea ;)

1st Man said...

Wow, that's a pretty brilliant solution! Nicely done!!

Quinn beat me to it, I can only imagine what that many lemon blossoms blooming at the same time must smell like, it must be heavenly!

Dani said...

Dawn - Our neighbours have bee hives next door, as well as over the sand road so I don;t think lack of pollination is the problem.

Not sure I want to get involved trying the hand pollinate 40+ lemon trees.. lol

Dani said...

Thanks Mum :)

Dani said...

Quinn - The alpaca poo doesn't smell. Their urine - very tart, but their poo - nada :)

Dani said...

1st man - The lemon trees are still getting to the stage of blossoming at once. Pity I won't be able to post a smell when that happens... ;)

Harry Flashman said...

Lemon trees smell really nice. There were lemon trees around our yard when I was little and I still remember that aroma.

Dani said...

Harry - I can hardly wait until the overpowering scent of lemon blossoms fills that orchard :)

Sol said...

excellent saving there

Dani said...

T'was Sol - it was :)

African Bliss said...

Great invention ;) For your lemons dropping off, have your soill check for boron levels, maybe they to low. Happy spraying.

Dani said...

AB - We had our soil tested and the only thing it needed was lime. But, I'll check out how to amend the boron level. Thanks ;)