My neighbors are nice and all, but there are no plants growing on our shared property line and it would be absolutely splendid if I could enjoy my morning coffee while gazing at greenery and not simply staring at their back porch. Privacy between neighbors is a wonderful thing to have, and it didn't take long for me to hatch a sweet privacy screen plan: plant evergreens along the property line and irrigate them!
Finding some nice evergreen plants (or any plants for that matter) is easy enough, it just entails a trip to Kurt's Garden. Actually, I took a few trips and picked up a nice variety of drought tolerant evergreens. The difficult part was finding a way to get water to the newly planted trees and shrubs.
Fortunately, there is a seasonal pond and plenty of sunshine at my place. Obviously I needed a solar powered irrigation system to pump water from the pond to the newly planted trees.
Gather some supplies
A Renogy 100W Solar Panel provides the juice
A Cheapo dc well pump does the pumping. (I absolutely purchased the 2 year warranty)
The panel is wired directly to the pump and the pump will push about half a gallon per minute when supplied with 12 volts of power. When the panel is getting straight blasted by the sun, the pump will push close to a gallon a minute.
Build a frame to hold the pump
Since I didn't want the pump to sit at the bottom of the pond and get fouled by all the muck, I decided to build a floating platform to keep the pump by the water's surface.
Gather some more supplies
- a 5 gallon pot (probably from Kurt's Garden)
- a metric tape measure
- some string
- a marker
- a nice square of plywood
measure the circumference of the pot
The circumference of the pot was measured with string just under the lip of the pot. The idea is to cut a hole in the plywood and put the pot in the hole.
do some math
Fittingly, this took place on March 14th, but I am just now writing about it. Damn what a slacker. :)
The string wrapped around the pot was 83.5 centimeters, and a bit of formula replacement quickly gave me the radius of the hole that I needed to cut.
trace a circle
Using a thumb tack, some string, and a pen, I quickly drew a circle using the previously determined radius.
Hot damn, that's a good fit
Awesome! Now I need to add some supports and a flotation device.
Not only did I add some supports and a top piece, I also added a nice handle to the top of the platform. The wooden piece that holds the pot is on the bottom of this platform.
floats and paint
A square of 2" PVC attached to the bottom of the platform adds quite a bit of buoyancy. Hopefully the coat of exterior paint will help the wood survive in the water.
A small hole was added to the top deck and lid for the power cable and water line to pass throught. Obviously the hole is just too small. Oh well.
The solar panel leans against a 4 foot tall post and I can move the panel around to change when the plants get watered. At the moment, the panel is facing due East so that the plants get watered for a couple hours every morning.
Recently, a few ducks have taken to relaxing on the platform. This in turn results in quite a bit of duck crap getting added to the irrigation water. Booyah! free fertilizer!
Now quite reading, and go be a water wizard.