Well I did it, I grabbed a spade and pushed it into the sand, not just once but repeatedly.  At the first metre of trench I celebrated.  ‘This isn’t so bad.’  I may have even done a happy dance.  I laid the 13mm irrigation poly pipe down the bottom of the trench, removed the click-on joiner & bug cap, that was connected to the length of poly pipe coming out into the middle of the path, that was connected to the irrigation system in the bed, and has been a tripping hazard all summer and a constant reminder of the digging that needed to be done.

irrigation trench
My first trench

I softened the end with the click-on joiner & bug cap in hot water and popped it off, then replaced it with a barb elbow and joined it to the long poly pipe in the trench and locked them in tight with pipe rachet clips.  I then filled in the trench burying the pipes deep within the garden and removed the tripping hazard in the middle of the path.  We were one step closer to being connected.  Action was being taken.

irrigation trench
It would seem someone has been ‘helping’ with the digging…..

However, the tripping hazard was moved to the end of the bed as the other 5 beds in the group also needed to be prepared in the same way and then connected across the top with all click-on joiner & bug caps terminating in the same spot.   I was one down, 35 to go…

Irrigation trenches
It was so satisfying to see the paths free from the tripping hazard of a pipe poking out, waiting to have something done to it.

After the second one I decided it was better to just look at it in terms of the groups.  Two down, 4 to go.   Not including the trench across the top.  By the third there was no happy dance….  Digging is hard work.  I began to question myself.  I’d given myself a week to do this job.  A week?! Was I crazy?  I know I sometimes have trouble visualising things, but doing all that digging in a week? What was I thinking?

best practice digging
Halfway. It is best to dig with the developing trench ahead of you so you can see all you have achieved and feel proud, rather than see what still has to be done and feel overwhelmed.

By the 4th trench I wasn’t even burying it back up again… let the wind do it for all I care…  But fortunately, I have a teenager who owes me money who filled in the trenches behind me like he was moving feathers.   Between the two of us we got to the end of the group and he swanned off to do teenage things and I dragged my weary body into the house where I draped myself across the sofa, not to be moved for the rest of the night.  Digging is hard work… well it is for me.  No wonder I’d put it off.

Jasper the Dog
Jasper the Dog decided it was easier to watch hard work, than joining in.

The next day, full of determination and a little bit stiff I headed on back out there to carry on.  I’ve revised my goals.  The aim was first sector completed this week.  The rest, all going well will be done before spring and the start of the growing season.  If I just dig one or two trenches a day, weather permitting, I should get there.

Irrigation trench
There is something deeply satisfying at this point of the project, to see all the pipes neatly lined up.

I thought the hard part would be digging the trench along the top end, by my reckoning it was about 12 metres, give or take, at a spade’s width and a spade’s depth.  But that seemed to go easily as you can fall into a rhythm with digging and you don’t notice you are hot, bothered and knackered until you stop.  So, I arrived that the end of the trench somewhat surprised.

Irrigation trench
It is like a super highway down in the trench as the pipes all come together.

Now the task was to connect the poly pipes so there were 6 individual poly pipes running from each bed joining the top trench and running alongside each other to get to the hub at the end.  This involved cutting the poly pipes to length so they lay comfortably in the trench and joined with an barb elbow and locked into place with pipe rachet clips and pinned into place with rigid pipe stakes so they stay in the right order so I’ll know which bed to water when looking into the hub.

Irrigation trench
And what was a tripping hazard across the garden have now been brought together, tucked out of the way in a corner of the garden, but still able to do the same job.

Once they all met at the end it was more barb elbows, pipe stakes and pipe rachet clips to bring them back up out of the trench standing proud but not too tall, side by side with their click-on joiner & bug caps on.  The hub went over the top hiding them away until ready to be used.

irrigation end point
Finally all the beds in the group are brought together in one spot so the beds can conveniently be watered with one turn of the tap.

All that was left was to fill in the trench.  I have decided digging holes is easy.  It is the filling them back in that is the hard bit.  But desperate to see the job finished I persevered and shovelled it all back in and raked it off.  Now the top sector looks amazing, is tripping hazard free and ready and waiting for the beds to be watered in once easy go.

Irrigation trench
And aside from a nicely raked surface you’d never know the great job I’d done bringing irrigation easily to my beds. But I know and I’m so chuffed.

Come again soon – I understand new season fruit trees are filling garden centres near me.

Sarah the Gardener  : o)

6 thoughts on “Digging

  1. Well done! Now in my 70’s I break the tough physical jobs into parts to make them manageable over a series of days. That way I still accomplish….just takes a tad longer!
    Love reading your column.

    1. Thanks so much Sue. You are so inspiring – I see myself still gardening for decades to come! Continue enjoying your garden, I’m sure it is amazing! Cheers Sarah : o)

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