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Last week Bruce decided we had to install a new Orbit Wi-Fi Irrigation controller at home. This surprised me because the one we had was working fine. I was curious to find out what all the fuss was about.

B.Hyve wifi irrigation controller

So what’s the big deal with this controller? Well once you have connected it to your WiFi and set it up, you can operate it from anywhere with your phone!!!! Let that sink in, you can go on holidays and still control your watering. You no longer have to get the neighbour to turn the controller on and off, or get your mum to stay so your garden doesn't die. That’s got to be worth a lot of peace of mind.

Easy to Use App

For some reason Bruce was very excited about the whole thing. He even got me to set it up on my phone via the B.hyve App. I liked it immediately because I could take a photo of each zone and store that on the app on my phone. Now I have a photo of what each zone looks like, and it's easy to identify which zone I want to water.

Phone screenshot of smart watering app showing images of zones
Zones in our Garden

The other benefit is that you now have a handheld remote (your mobile phone), and you can manually turn on irrigation zones as you walk around.

We have one school principal who is already using it stealthily to turn the pop-up sprinklers on and off the school oval, to cool the students off on the hot days. The kids love it!

Smart Watering

The advanced feature of this Orbit B.hyve irrigation controller is Smart Watering. The software allows you to choose this option and will use the closest meteorological station to determine the best irrigation for your lawn and garden.

Even within Smart Watering you still have the option of tweaking the parameters. It has options to identify different soil types, different lawn or plant types, and so on. This feature allows you to avoid wasting water, by watering to the conditions.

moble screenshot of irrigation controller app showing smart watering details

And best of all you can still walk up to the controller and use it like you usually do.

Rain Delay

There are many other things I like about this irrigation controller, such as the rain delay function. This will use the information from the weather station to delay watering. And I like the control you can have over your watering. So in our garden we have set most zones to smart watering, but one (the vegie garden) is manually operated. Just because we can.

mobile screenshot of smart watering app showing zones

I also noticed there is a freeze warning notification, so that if watering is likely to damage your plants you can delay it. That's hard to imagine right now, when it's 43° in Melbourne - happily we're only in the 30's here, but still...

Anyway, I think the b.Hyve irrigation Controller is a winner. I found it easy to set up and use, and most importantly, I really like the app. It looks lovely (as you can see from my screenshots) 😊

We are confident that you will love this controller. We (Bruce) also can coach you on the setup, because sometimes these things can be overwhelming.

And if you are on the Bellarine Peninsula, we can also install it for you.

Please call for pricing.

What Should You Be Doing With Greywater?

Using greywater is a great way to feel like you're doing something positive for the environment, and at the same time saving money.  When it comes to using greywater on your property there a many things you should be aware of.  Here are 9 things that you need to know about using greywater.

  1. Use Your Greywater

    Why? Because you should.  Why would you not want to water your garden with water that you've already paid for?  Your garden loves greywater. It will reward you by being green and happy and you don't even have to do anything!  Well, after you've installed a greywater reuse system.  Here's just one example of a garden that's loving greywater.

  2. Don't use chemicals that your plants won't like

    Your garden doesn't like too much of anything that will create an imbalance, so be aware of what goes down the drain. Salt, boron, phosphates, chlorine bleaches are examples of chemicals found in washing products, soaps, shampoos and body washes.  These type of products probably aren't the best for our bodies either.   It's great to be mindful of what you're using and whether it can be replaced with a gentler, environmentally friendly product.

  3. Avoid using blackwater from the kitchen

    Because that water is just a bit yuck.  Waste water from the kitchen is classed as black water. It has suspended fats, food waste and harsh chemicals, and regulations prevent reusing this water.  Also the water savings just aren't worth it.  Of course you can use a container to catch the water when you're scrubbing your vegetables, or if you're running the tap for ages waiting for the hot water.   Just pour that over your herbs at the back door.

  4. Be aware of using greywater when it's raining

    I don't mean when there's a few showers around. But if it's the middle of winter (or the middle of the wet season) and your lawn looks like a lake, you can turn the greywater unit off and let the water go to the sewer.

  5. Don't spray Greywater

    EPA recommendations are that greywater must be released via subsurface irrigation.

  6. Don't expect your Washing Machine to pump Greywater to your garden

    Because your washing machine isn't made to do that. Especially front loaders. It will shorten the life of your washing machine pump and won't pump the water to where you need it.  Use a greywater diversion system.  Oh wait, I know where you can get a good

  1. Avoid Poo in your greywater

    Is there a way to avoid this topic, or a nice way to say it?  Probably not.  OK, so, if you are washing nappies, clothes, bedding or towels that have faecal matter on them, just let the water go down the drain.  You can use the rinse water on the garden, but for the health and safety of your family, don't use the washing water.

  2. Please don't store your Greywater

    Greywater shouldn't be stored for longer than 24 hours because it contains nutrients including washing products and dirt.  These start decomposing and the water will start to smell.  The best thing is to just pump it out straight away.  Having an in-ground drip system installed makes this automatic, and once your system is installed you really don't have to think about it again.greywater drip tube in the garden

  3. Avoid letting Your Greywater Escape

    Another very important regulation is that your greywater isn't  allowed to run of your property into stormwater systems, aquifers, rivers and creeks or onto your neighbour's property.  If you have a properly installed irrigation system, there is very little chance that this will happen.

So there you have it, nine things to think about when you're considering installing a greywater system.  Once your system is installed correctly and you have your irrigation in place, you'll never look back.  With summer fast approaching, are you considering installing a greywater system?  We're happy to answer any questions you may have, so feel free to phone us.

A successful vineyard manager has to juggle many variables to produce a great crop of grapes.  The regular and controlled delivery of water is a really important part of this puzzle. The pumps and the irrigation layout need to be operating well to supply the right amount of water.

pumps, vineyard

Recently Bruce had a call from the manager at Terindah Estate,  an award winning Bellarine Peninsula winery.  He was enquiring about buying some fittings and pipe. Bruce guessed there might have been a reason behind the call, beyond the fittings and pipe. He offered to look over the installation of the pumps and irrigation system, and the manager jumped at the chance.

After initial inspection and on-site audit of the pump and irrigation layout, it was clear that the system needed more than a few fittings and pipe.  The telltale signs of dead vines and unharvested fruit  were signals that something wasn't working.

Together with the owner and manager, we formulated a step by step plan to tackle the inherent shortfalls of the irrigation system.  Step one was to upgrade the foundation of the system, because the existing pump was  undersized and performing poorly.

pumps, replace vineyard pump

The New Pump

We selected a top of the range Lowara Multi Stage Pump equipped with the latest variable speed drive Hydrovar.  We have sold and recommended Lowara Pumps for many years.  Their performance and reliability are legendary.  The vertical multi stage pump is highly efficient, quiet and easy to maintain.  The Hydrovar pump controller offers protection from overload, under- and over-voltage, and overheating.

Pump and Hydrovar

The pump is now installed and commissioned and the manager is excited by the prospect of being able to run each zone to capacity and to maximum efficiency.  The Variable Speed Drive will bring power savings that will allow pay back of the system over a short period of time.

Pump and Hydrovar for winery

The next stage will be upgrading the existing drip tube to a more modern and efficient Netafim drip tube.

This step by step approach allows the upgrade of the entire system, while doing it in stages allows budgeting both in money and time available.

Wine Barrels

Do you have problems with your pump's performance?  If you need help, advice or would like any information, send us a message or give Bruce a call on 03 52585193.

I recently posted quite a few photos of an in-ground Gator Pro installation.  Now I'd like to show you a Greywater Maxi 100, our largest unit, which was mounted on concrete under the customer's house. The plumber who installed it was kind enough to send us a photo of this Maxi 100. You can see how it looks when it's installed under the house. ...continue reading "Greywater Maxi 100 Installation"