This year, for various reasons, I didn't water them at all and to my surprise in the spring, they burst forth and soon were covered with grape clusters. Hmmm...how could this be? Did the roots hit the water table? Nah. As far as I know grapes don't have deep tap roots and the aquifer is down at least 200 feet. Then like a scene in a Polanski movie, my mind did a zoom into the bathroom on the east side of the house, then panned to my imagined best possible location of the septic tank, following on to the leach line and ending up with a hand held of the grapes. Now that's some permaculture thinking on the part of the first owner. And if that's the case, if they are drinking off of the leach line, then they are also simultaneously feeding off the nitrites in urine thereby mitigating the impact of nitrates on the aquifer! I'm loving it.
To give them a little more of a boost, I decided to send them some washing machine grey water as well. I use only biocompatible (forget biodegradable) detergent which actually gives plants some micro nutrients. Fortunately, like most places in Landers, there was already a grey water line in place but it just spilled onto empty ground. So, follow along with the pictures to see how I went about it (the only picture missing is the one of me in tears of frustration from heat exposure and dehydration).
|Grey water line runs underground and emptied to the |
left and downhill from the grapes. I cut the line so it spills
out to the right and next to the first vine. Then I dug an
8" deep trench from the grey water pipe
parallel to the vines.