This field season we are initiating a second plot of milkweeds at LTRAS. The first LTRAS plot already has 150 milkweeds planted in it from the previous field season. The second plot that we’re working on will have space for up to 660 plants! On the 26th of February myself, Jess, Louie and Nick (the new post-doctoral researcher in the lab) headed out to LTRAS to install a drip irrigation system to bring water to all the plants.
Previously Louie and Nick had spray painted the exact location of each plant. Jess and I went through and added pin flags to any painted spots that lacked a flag. 660 pin flags waving in the breeze is quite the site!
When the trencher arrived, I went to LTRAS West to finish the weeding there and Jess made sure the trencher didn’t deviate from its pin flag course. The trencher was quite impressive.
With the first trench dug, and Louie’s help we stretched out the first of six main irrigation lines. The previous field tech, August, built a fantastic contraption that acts a spool and makes stretching out the irrigation line much easier. Once the main line was laid next to the trench, one person when through and punched a hole in the line where the spaghetti tubing and emitter would go. Next, two people would attach the spaghetti tubing. Finally, the main line was placed in the trench with the emitters facing up. This process was repeated six times to cover the entire field site.
At the end of the day, a final trench was dug and a pipe was laid to connect the irrigation system with the water valve. Since this trench crossed the road, we filled it back in when we were done placing the pipe.
This week we’re going to fill in the trenches dug at LTRAS East, replace plants at LTRAS West and continue mulching at PCR. The field season continues to be a busy one!