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soaker hoses barred at the bottom. Does this work?

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soaker hoses barred at the bottom. Does this work?

Post  GardeningMaster on 4/7/2010, 2:09 am

This year I will will be my first year doing SFG. I will start with my
raised beds I built last year. I will have to remove some of the soil
out so I can put a wire barrier for moles and weed fabric. I plan to
have soaker hoses barred at the bottom. Does this work?
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subsurface irrigation

Post  SirTravers on 4/7/2010, 9:07 am

out here on the south plains there are commercial operations using subsurface irrigation like that. Sure it'll work! Just make sure to get a good,portable moisture meter. Check out Tim Wardell's garden photos. He's got the same setup.

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Re: soaker hoses barred at the bottom. Does this work?

Post  Shoda on 4/7/2010, 11:49 am

I am also thinking about how to do the irrigation. Last year, my regular garden used drip for about 4 months and then I went to hand watering and small sprayers because the water was only soaking straight down and most of the bed was dry.

Does the soaker hose get clogged after a while or break down? Has anyone have an experience with buried hose over time?

-- Lisa
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Re: soaker hoses barred at the bottom. Does this work?

Post  timwardell on 4/7/2010, 12:10 pm

Hey,
I'm using a buried soaker hose system this year. Last year I just had it laying on top of the soil and once the pressure built up it became like a mini sprinkler shoot water up as well as down and out. And yes, I kept turning the pressure down. This year, I've buried the hose under the Mel's Mix. Assuming the pressure will cause the water to leave the hose from all directions again I'm hoping it will moisten the mix and water the roots as intended.

As to the durability of the soaker hose, growing up we had a garden in the backyard with a buried soaker hose and had no problems with it over a 5 year period. I left for college at that point and can't say what became of it. For all I know my parent's left it in the ground when they moved.

You can see a video of my set up here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CrArHFn8og
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Re: soaker hoses barred at the bottom. Does this work?

Post  mckr3441 on 4/8/2010, 9:34 am

Tim, your videos are "award winning"!
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Re: soaker hoses barred at the bottom. Does this work?

Post  timwardell on 4/8/2010, 10:32 am

@mckr3441 wrote:Tim, your videos are "award winning"!
Thank you. I'd like to accept this dancing banana on behalf of YouTube and the SFG Forum. Now please direct all further questions to my press agent. Very Happy
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Soaker Hose Question

Post  Ages on 4/8/2010, 8:47 pm

Tim, I have to tell you I found your video to be very inspiring. Eventually, I'd like to find out how to make one of those and hope that the footage and sound is as high quality as yours. Great job!!! Very Happy But today I'd like to ask you about the soaker hose. I live in El Paso, TX and am planning on putting my SFG box on top of my usual garden area. The guy at my local nursery told me that if I laid it on top of the ground and put Mel's mix on top of that that eventually the soaker hose would clog because of the high acidic content of our soil. Therefore he recommended a bubbler. Could I avoid that problem by putting a bottom in my SFG box and drilling holes for drainage? Or do you think that the soaker hose will be just fine with Mel's mix covering it without a bottom? What do you think about the bubbler?

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Re: soaker hoses barred at the bottom. Does this work?

Post  timwardell on 4/8/2010, 10:20 pm

I'm not sure I follow the guy's logic. I don't see how the acidity of your soil affects the soaker hose clogging or not. That would have more to do with how hard or soft your city's water supply is. Wouldn't it? If contact with the local soil is the issue, I'd build the boxes with weed barrier underneath, fill 2/3 with Mel's Mix, lay down the soaker hose, then add the rest of your Mel's Mix. That way your soaker hose is only in contact with the mix which is most likely either pH neutral or alkaline depending on your compost. I have nothing against bubblers, it's just that soaker hose is cheap and I think it gets the same results as a more expensive and complicated drip irrigation system.
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Thanks!

Post  Ages on 4/9/2010, 1:58 am

Thanks Tim, that was just what I needed to know!

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Soaker Hose & Water Sensor Combo

Post  Shoda on 4/9/2010, 12:14 pm

I love the idea of the soaker hoses and the use of a water sensor to tell when the plants need watering. I can't get a water sensor to work though. I have purchased two different ones and have been using them in plants potted with Mel's Mix. When the mix is dripping wet, the gauges only move slightly.

I thought my older sensor was defective which is why I purchased a second. Same issue. I even put them in a bucket of water and it doesn't read as wet.

If others are using the sensors successfully, what brand of sensor do you use?

-- Lisa
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I'm going to see if I can step down my water pressure in addition to burying my soaker...

Post  organicgardeningzen.com on 4/18/2010, 5:17 pm

Hey Tim,
I had the same problem as you last year with my soaker hose springing "leaks" that would scour out holes in my mel's mix and expose the roots of my nearby plants. I also was keeping my hose valve turned on as low as possible to keep the water pressure down...to no avail (plus my kids couldn't seem to resist turning the tap up full blast every time they walked past).

I'm actually headed out to the hardware store now to see if I can get an in-line pressure drop adaptor -- similar idea to the ones used to step down the pressure for a drip system. I'm hoping that will resolve the "sprinklering" issue, and I'm going to combine that with burying the hose too. I like the idea of watering at the root level both for plant use efficiency and water conservation.

Helpful video and nice garden!

@timwardell wrote:Hey,
I'm using a buried soaker hose system this year. Last year I just had it laying on top of the soil and once the pressure built up it became like a mini sprinkler shoot water up as well as down and out. And yes, I kept turning the pressure down. This year, I've buried the hose under the Mel's Mix. Assuming the pressure will cause the water to leave the hose from all directions again I'm hoping it will moisten the mix and water the roots as intended.

As to the durability of the soaker hose, growing up we had a garden in the backyard with a buried soaker hose and had no problems with it over a 5 year period. I left for college at that point and can't say what became of it. For all I know my parent's left it in the ground when they moved.

You can see a video of my set up here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CrArHFn8og
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Re: soaker hoses barred at the bottom. Does this work?

Post  Shoda on 4/22/2010, 7:22 pm

Back to the "buried" soaker hose topic. I am trying to set this up in my raised beds and had a few questions for Tim and the others. First, Tim used one soaker hose for a 2' wide bed and two soaker hoses for a 3' wide bed.

In my case, I have 2' wide beds and 4' wide beds. Since the soaker hose in the 2' wide bed has to run until it has wet 1' out on each side, I was assumming I only needed two soaker hoses in a 4' wide bed -- positioned such that the hoses were 1' away from the sides of the box and 2' away from each other if that makes sense.

Also, I connected the PVC to a garden hose with a 25-30 PSI pressure regulator and a timer. The timer is great but I think the pressure still might be too high. When I tested it on one of the soaker hoses, it just sprayed out like a sprinkler. Since I don't want any root damage, I assume it would be better to install a 15 PSI pressure regulator and just run it longer.

I would like to finish with the water installation tomorrow. Any feedback before I cover the soaker hoses with more Mel's?
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Re: soaker hoses barred at the bottom. Does this work?

Post  timwardell on 4/22/2010, 7:41 pm

IMHO two strands of hose in the 4' bed would work fine. I also agree on the 15 psi pressure reducer/regulator.
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Re: soaker hoses barred at the bottom. Does this work?

Post  Shoda on 4/22/2010, 7:43 pm

Thanks Tim. Nice to have confirmation before I cover!
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Re: soaker hoses barred at the bottom. Does this work?

Post  timwardell on 4/22/2010, 7:45 pm

The inaccuracy of moisture sensors/meters came up on another thread. Everyone with Mel's Mix seems to have the same problem. The consensus is that Mel's Mix is so loose, fluffy, & friable that it gives inaccurate readings - reading dryer than it is. I'm sure you could prove this by filling a cup with Mel's Mix and another cup with plain 'ol dirt (soil) then adding the same amount of water and inserting the meter. ... Thus, it seems the most accurate way to gauge the moisture level of Mel's Mix is via finger. Stick your finger in the soil about two inches (the last knuckle on most folks) and if it's wet or even cool don't water. If your finger is dry or warm so is the soil and you need to water. So much for technology.
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Re: soaker hoses barred at the bottom. Does this work?

Post  organicgardeningzen.com on 4/22/2010, 8:07 pm

LOL on the moisture meter inaccuracy. Mine is consistently reading "wet" regardless of how dry my soil is. So I will be using the knuckle test.

And I found the inline pressure reducer (20psi) I was looking for and my soaker is buried at 4" deep and working great - though I only used a 25 ft for a 2 x 12 bed (2 lengthwise runs) so I'm a little worried about coverage now based on recent posts...
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Re: soaker hoses barred at the bottom. Does this work?

Post  timwardell on 4/23/2010, 10:05 am

@organicgardeningzen.com wrote:And I found the inline pressure reducer (20psi) I was looking for and my soaker is buried at 4" deep and working great - though I only used a 25 ft for a 2 x 12 bed (2 lengthwise runs) so I'm a little worried about coverage now based on recent posts...
I personally think it's all a matter of trial and error. There are so many issues related to the microclimate of one's own garden - the exact combination of humidity, temperature, sun, shade, wind, soil mixture, plant density, etc. - that it's difficult if not impossible to say "do it this way everywhere all the time". You may find that your system is perfect for your set up.

That's what I love about this Forum. We can steal ideas... I, uh, mean LEARN FROM others and see if we can add elements of what they are doing to our system. ... Thus far I haven't had to run my soaker hose ONCE because we had a longer and wetter than average winter and it's rained every five days like clockwork for the past month. Dallas has felt like Seattle of late. Very Happy

...but I know those consecutive 100+ degree days are just around the corner. Shocked
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Re: soaker hoses barred at the bottom. Does this work?

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