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How to drip irrigate fruit trees well, no matter the climate
I have been drip irrigating my two apple trees (Malus domestica), one of them a Fuji and the other a Gala, now about ten years. I have heard about this for decades. For those not familiar, you drip water into the root zone of the trees. This means the water travels underground and reaches the roots. You do not direct a hose to one side of the tree but directly into the root zone. Since water is supplied with a pressurized line, the hose is in most cases only a regulator which controls the flow. The drip system is usually of a flexible PVC (polyvinyl chloride). An electric pump with built-in regulator draws water from the pressure line and pushes the water out the emitters through the tubing. One pipe supplies water to the tree and the other pipe returns the water from the tree back to the regulator.
So, with this technology, my fruit trees got a good, continuous supply of water right into the summer. I have never had to water manually. I was curious and wanted to test the system. It was late June and I was told to expect more rains in the fall.
At that time, I had six apple trees on my yard. One of these, a Gala (tangerine type), had been in my yard about twenty years and was in perfect shape. I had three, one each of both varieties, planted the year before, three Fuji, and three Galas, all in the same spot. I started the drip system at the Gala and moved over to the trees on the left of the house. I had been told that the trees I had planted the year before were just a little bit better, so the Gala in that area had been moved back to see how the drip system would work.
The results were shocking. The Gala was thriving, the other three were dead within a few months.
They were all planted in the same place in the ground, so the trees were in the same spot all the time. I had been watering them manually every two or three days.
Now, the Gala tree was in perfect shape. The others were not. Why would the system not work for all of them?
Of course, I know it is not the system that is the problem. I also know that I have some pretty amazing equipment in my shed.
My friend, the mechanic from years back, just asked if I wanted to see it. I said no, not yet. I want to write the story of how we became the most well-stocked auto parts store in the Pacific Northwest.
We started out selling auto parts at fairs, going to them. A fair is where people get together to sell whatever they have, so we sold whatever we could. You might think that people selling stuff that is already made, for example furniture, would not have much to sell.
We found the opposite. People needed everything from a flat tire to a window regulator, so we sold it all. We ended up making more in one day from those fairs than we did for our auto parts store a year.
However, that started to become very expensive for us. So, we began selling at farmers markets and other events where people had enough people there to pay for our goods.
By the time we could afford to expand, we had so much success at the fairs that we were having to buy things to use up at those events.
When we opened a new auto parts store and began selling there, we had to carry almost everything. Not only was the line around the door huge, it stayed around for a long time because people wanted to spend their time and money with us.
Over the years, we have expanded into other retail businesses, which has really allowed us to grow. The first expansion was into general retailers. We found that customers liked to stop in and see us to buy stuff, so we opened more locations, and eventually stores.
The one that most got a lot of attention was a restaurant. We saw that we could do some cool things with food. Not only could we sell the stuff that we used to sell, but we could also make our own products, and the food was good.
This took our retail stores to a whole new level, so we started another restaurant, called Fresh Cafe. This one is a bit more upscale. We are also planning to go into office supply, furniture and apparel.
You have built the business up in a short amount of time. Why?
It takes a lot of work, and a lot of passion. We are not robots. We care about each and every one of our people.
If you are going to build a business that makes money, you have to treat the customers well. There is also a lot of time and expense involved. We want to be sure that we do the right things, so that we do the right thing by our customers.
How do you motivate employees?
What motivates us, besides just wanting to do the right thing? It’s a great feeling. Every time we hire a new person, we know they will be part of the team that will make a great impact on our customers. Everyone’s performance is valued.
It’s like a band. Every person brings a different talent, and if you are not a great team player, you are not going to be part of the team.
How do you keep motivated?
We want to succeed, and we have no limits. We do it because we enjoy doing it, and we enjoy helping our customers.
We have a great manager. He has helped a lot. If you are going to start a business, you want a good manager. You want someone who can get the most out of you and your skills.
Does this business grow on its own, or do you have