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Best thing I ever did for my SFG

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Best thing I ever did for my SFG

Post  elliephant on 5/8/2012, 6:48 pm

Drip Irrigation

Seriously, it is making such a difference this year. So easy to just go out and turn it on when the dog goes out in the morning and turn it back off before I take my oldest to school...or at some point later in the morning when I remember...yeah, a timer would probably be a good Mother's Day present.

This is my 3rd year SFGing and the first time I've not had plants showing signs of stress in the afternoons. We've already been up in the 90s, even mid 90s, and none of the plants are wilting/fainting in the heat of the day.

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Re: Best thing I ever did for my SFG

Post  givvmistamps on 5/8/2012, 7:29 pm

That's great! I hope to get an irrigation system someday, but it's not in the cards for this year. My husband is grumbling about the expense a bit, and we do have other things that we need to spend $$ on, so I have to back off on my garden spending now. Sad Oh well, after Mother's Day I'll have to wait for Christmas, but at least we can actually grow some veggies in the winter down here! Very Happy
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Re: Best thing I ever did for my SFG

Post  jkahn2eb on 5/8/2012, 7:59 pm

I may have spent a pretty penny on it, but being self-employed, if I can save myself water 15-20 minutes twice a day during the summer, it's worth it. Finally got the landscaping back to how it was before I started the project a month ago and I LOVE IT.

My only problem is with the Mel's Mix, the water seems to flow downwards fast because it's so loose.... it doesn't spread. So I bought little sprayers which shoot out sideways in 360 degrees (trying to keep plants dry is the engineering challenge). The sprayers are 6 ft but I added a valve to lessen the pressure. Elliephant, I'm with ya 500%
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Re: Best thing I ever did for my SFG

Post  Coelli on 5/8/2012, 8:08 pm

I *just* started my first garden - got the beds planted on Sunday night. We're in Los Angeles right on the edge of a canyon so we dry out fast and it gets HOT in the summer. There's a drip irrigation system already installed in the yard for all of the plants we've been tearing out and I want to see what can be salvaged and repurposed for the beds! The timer is probably shot, but I don't mind just hooking it up to a hose. Glad to hear it's working well. Smile
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Re: Best thing I ever did for my SFG

Post  TejasTerry on 5/8/2012, 8:22 pm

I installed my own drip system. Bought "Mr. Landscaper" stuff from Lowes...really cheap to put in. I probably spent $60 or $70 for all the stuff, and I have 4 raised beds and 3 planters hooked up, and still have drippers, etc. for when I add more beds.

I did splurge on a timer, which was around $30, but that too is worth it. They have tons of videos on mrlandscaper.com showing you how to do it. It's really easy.

My husband was pretty impressed that I didn't ask for his help even once. It is soooo worth it, and my plants starting looking better within a week. We have already gotten into the 90 degree temps, and I have it set to water every day in the morning.
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Re: Best thing I ever did for my SFG

Post  elliephant on 5/8/2012, 8:28 pm

The "Mr. Landscaper stuff from Lowes is what I used, too.

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Re: Best thing I ever did for my SFG

Post  TejasTerry on 5/8/2012, 8:49 pm

@elliephant wrote:The "Mr. Landscaper stuff from Lowes is what I used, too.

If this system holds up a few years, I'll be happy. I think after doing this project, I could easily install a more sophisticated system in the future. A few weeks after I did my project, there was a guy at my office complex putting in a commercial irrigation system, and I remember watching him and thinking "wow, he's doing exactly what I did, with some heavier duty components".

So it's really not hard at all, and very economical. They also claim you save 50% water usage, so I guess if that is true, it will pay for itself in a few months.

The youtube videos really have helped me with projects like this.
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Re: Best thing I ever did for my SFG

Post  trukrebew on 5/9/2012, 1:52 am

This sounds like just the thing for me for Father's Day! cheers
But before I forgo the usual gift of beer, can any of you tell me more about setting it up?

  • How do you position the lines within your squares?
  • Do you cut through the center of 1 square or double back?
  • How does it work to cover all 9 or 16 plants in 1 square?
  • How do you get it across the aisle, from one box to another?


I'm pretty good with logistics, but I'd like to hear from experience!
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Re: Best thing I ever did for my SFG

Post  Chopper on 5/9/2012, 2:36 am

@Coelli wrote:I *just* started my first garden - got the beds planted on Sunday night. We're in Los Angeles right on the edge of a canyon so we dry out fast and it gets HOT in the summer. There's a drip irrigation system already installed in the yard for all of the plants we've been tearing out and I want to see what can be salvaged and repurposed for the beds! The timer is probably shot, but I don't mind just hooking it up to a hose. Glad to hear it's working well. Smile

If you already have irrigation it is just a matter of getting the correct fittings. The hard part are the pipes throughout the yard. If that is done, piece of cake.

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Re: Best thing I ever did for my SFG

Post  plantoid on 5/9/2012, 4:34 am

@givvmistamps wrote:That's great! I hope to get an irrigation system someday, but it's not in the cards for this year. My husband is grumbling about the expense a bit, and we do have other things that we need to spend $$ on, so I have to back off on my garden spending now. Sad Oh well, after Mother's Day I'll have to wait for Christmas, but at least we can actually grow some veggies in the winter down here! Very Happy

Everytime you take veg from the garden put half their value in money aside for your system in cold hard cash .. you'll have your system in next to no time Wink
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Re: Best thing I ever did for my SFG

Post  plantoid on 5/9/2012, 4:56 am

@trukrebew wrote:This sounds like just the thing for me for Father's Day! cheers
But before I forgo the usual gift of beer, can any of you tell me more about setting it up?


  • How do you position the lines within your squares?
  • Do you cut through the center of 1 square or double back?
  • How does it work to cover all 9 or 16 plants in 1 square?
  • How do you get it across the aisle, from one box to another?





I'm pretty good with logistics, but I'd like to hear from experience!



Having used a simple low pressure single dripping droplet at a time dripper heads , I found it was not much good for I could'nt get the flow right to give even rates from each dripper. Those nearest the supply inlet got the greatest pressure so gave the most water out.

I moved things over to incoming mains water pressure and blew the drippers & joints apart Laughing as they were not designed for the job, neither was the very thin walled tubings.

This year I have purchased a mains water pressure set up , scrapped all the old thin wall tubing and low pressure drippers ( But kept the timers as spares for they only do things in 15 minutes sessions at any of four pre determined unadjustable times ) .
It is surface run in quality flexible UV resistant pipes that can be totally drained down in the winter or taken up /modified if needed .


The heads of the new system are either 360 or 180 degree coverage spray heads with a radius of 20 inches or 360 sprinkler heads that send out 360 degree pulsed jets in large droplets rather than fine sprays. Extra ones of all thre heads can be had in packs of three or so

Fed up with trying to reset the water supply tap to best rate every time I put the system on , I purchased a pair of very good timers that can be set for individual days or all days of the week with 10 water on events each day, ranging from a minute of water to 9 hours of water in sixty second increments. ( One for the beds and one for the glasshouse.)

The spray /sprinlkler heads are to be set on sticks in the ground & duct taped to the stick at a height of about 20 inches or those sprays in the glasshouse are fixed to hang down from the roof so as to get all the plants int he area . There is no way I was going to buy the plastic mounting sticks at £ 1.20 each when I had a load of bamboo etc at a fraction of the price.

All my spray heads have on off taps built into them which means I can vary the spray if needed or I can turn individual one off.

The spray head is always on but I understand they too can be had with on off taps built in to them.

There are also individual heads that present single drips that deliver set amounts per head .. say three pints per minute maximum flow .. I think that these are also available in a tap version . With thses sort of drippers & sprinklers if you leave them on five foot long supply lines off the main water feed tube which can be left on one side of the bed you can move them around the bed as needed .

I've not yet set up the beds in this manner but will soon be doing so ....set up as two spray heads and three drippers per bed so that nearly all the watering needs wil be taken care of .

The gear I'm talking about is " Hozelock " but I'm sure there will be similar stuff available in the USA etc.
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Re: Best thing I ever did for my SFG

Post  TejasTerry on 5/9/2012, 7:43 am

@trukrebew wrote:This sounds like just the thing for me for Father's Day! cheers
But before I forgo the usual gift of beer, can any of you tell me more about setting it up?


  • How do you position the lines within your squares?
  • Do you cut through the center of 1 square or double back?
  • How does it work to cover all 9 or 16 plants in 1 square?
  • How do you get it across the aisle, from one box to another?


I'm pretty good with logistics, but I'd like to hear from experience!

On the system I bought, it came with a pressure regulator that plugs into the system so that the water is the correct pressure. I have no problem with the beds closest to the ffaucet getting more water. All the beds seem to be getting equal amounts of water.

I have both drip line where the spacing is 12 inches apart, and also individual drippers I installed here and there if a particular square had plants that weren't getting enough water with the drip line. Some of the squares I doubled back with the drip line, and others I didn't, depending on what was planted.

As far as getting it across the aisle from one box to another, there are various connectors, etc., to get your main lines where they need to go,and the 1/4 inch lines where they need to go. You just need to think it out first, and it was pretty simple. Here is a great youtube video where I learned a lot, and this system from dripworks.com looks pretty much the same as the one I bought at Lowes:



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Re: Best thing I ever did for my SFG

Post  TN_GARDENER on 5/9/2012, 10:09 am

@trukrebew wrote:This sounds like just the thing for me for Father's Day! cheers
But before I forgo the usual gift of beer, can any of you tell me more about setting it up?


  • How do you position the lines within your squares?
  • Do you cut through the center of 1 square or double back?
  • How does it work to cover all 9 or 16 plants in 1 square?
  • How do you get it across the aisle, from one box to another?


I'm pretty good with logistics, but I'd like to hear from experience!



If you look at Mel's system, there is a main hose that runs along one side of the box (you can even mount the main line along the top edge of your box) & several hoses that run at a 90* angle in to the box. Think of the main line as a manifold.

The water will drip, then spread throughout the square. You can add more drip emitters or use higher flow emitters if you don't get good coverage in some of your squares.

Not mine, but gives a good idea of how the water spreads





They also make (Mel sells one) drip tape that works sorta like a soaker hose. This stuff is nice because it doesn't require the installation of the emitters.

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Re: Best thing I ever did for my SFG

Post  No_Such_Reality on 5/9/2012, 12:21 pm

Don't know about drip tape, haven't used it. Currently doing much better with my drip system on the converted in ground irrigation. I currently have sprayers, much like some of the others have noted, the drippers or streamers soak in so fast, they don't spread much. Below the surface things stay wet, but dried out surface is slowly spreading down.

My solution will be adding a soaker hose, Orbit makes a 1/4" drip line soaker hose, picked it up a Lowes, like a regular soaker hose and not the 6" spaced dripper soaker hose. The 6 inch space hose didn't work well for me. I'm hoping the soaker-soaker will as it looks to have a more uniform flow out over the entire surface instead of every 6 inches.

If that works well, I'll replace the sprayers with soakers at the right spacing.

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Re: Best thing I ever did for my SFG

Post  givvmistamps on 5/9/2012, 12:56 pm

@plantoid wrote:
Everytime you take veg from the garden put half their value in money aside for your system in cold hard cash .. you'll have your system in next to no time Wink

Great idea, David! Thanks. I'll set aside a jar for that. Very Happy
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Re: Best thing I ever did for my SFG

Post  jkahn2eb on 5/9/2012, 1:22 pm

@No_Such_Reality wrote:My solution will be adding a soaker hose, Orbit makes a 1/4" drip line soaker hose, picked it up a Lowes, like a regular soaker hose and not the 6" spaced dripper soaker hose. The 6 inch space hose didn't work well for me. I'm hoping the soaker-soaker will as it looks to have a more uniform flow out over the entire surface instead of every 6 inches.

If that works well, I'll replace the sprayers with soakers at the right spacing.

Interesting idea. Let us know how that goes
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Has anyone tried "snip and drip" at Gardener's Supply?

Post  hruten on 5/9/2012, 1:35 pm

Hi, my last Gardener's Supply catalog had a system I'd never seen before for grow boxes called "Snip-n-Drip" Soaker system. Aparently it allows you to cut soaker hose and regular hose that the soaker is only over your beds and the regular hose goes between beds. Here's the link...

http://www.gardeners.com/Snip-n-Drip-Soaker-System/40-205,default,pd.html
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Re: Best thing I ever did for my SFG

Post  TN_GARDENER on 5/9/2012, 6:36 pm

@hruten wrote:Hi, my last Gardener's Supply catalog had a system I'd never seen before for grow boxes called "Snip-n-Drip" Soaker system. Aparently it allows you to cut soaker hose and regular hose that the soaker is only over your beds and the regular hose goes between beds. Here's the link...

http://www.gardeners.com/Snip-n-Drip-Soaker-System/40-205,default,pd.html

I did some dumpster diving and acquired an old garden hose just for such a project.

I'd think you could do something similar with a $9 soaker hose and a handful of hose mending parts.


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Re: Best thing I ever did for my SFG

Post  walshevak on 5/9/2012, 8:21 pm

So I though, bought 20 from home depot but the connectors didn't fit the soaker hose. Sad And neither Lowes nor Ace hardware had any either. Finally found 1/2" connectors on Amazon and ordered tonight. $45 for 10 male and 10 female. I have 10 beds to connect.

Kay

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Re: Best thing I ever did for my SFG

Post  trukrebew on 5/9/2012, 10:12 pm

I'm marking this thread a favorite since it has so much good info in it! Plantoid, you are throwing around so much 'drip lingo' that I had to read your post twice already. Laughing Thanks for the videos and the pics, Terry and TN_, they will be very helpful.

I am a very thrifty guy (read: CHEAP! tongue ), and am intrigued by the Snip-N-Drip concept. I already have a collection of broken hoses that could get me started. I even have a very good timer, too. So getting that method going might not cost much. Or I hold out for a gift of the Mister Landscaper set.

The last question I have (for now Very Happy ) may be the deal maker for which system to use: Can I use a rain barrel or is there not enough pressure? My barrel will only be about 6" above the top of the boxes, but I could safely raise it up at least 12" higher.
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Re: Best thing I ever did for my SFG

Post  TejasTerry on 5/9/2012, 10:20 pm

@trukrebew wrote:I'm marking this thread a favorite since it has so much good info in it! Plantoid, you are throwing around so much 'drip lingo' that I had to read your post twice already. Laughing Thanks for the videos and the pics, Terry and TN_, they will be very helpful.

I am a very thrifty guy (read: CHEAP! tongue ), and am intrigued by the Snip-N-Drip concept. I already have a collection of broken hoses that could get me started. I even have a very good timer, too. So getting that method going might not cost much. Or I hold out for a gift of the Mister Landscaper set.

The last question I have (for now Very Happy ) may be the deal maker for which system to use: Can I use a rain barrel or is there not enough pressure? My barrel will only be about 6" above the top of the boxes, but I could safely raise it up at least 12" higher.

The Mr. Landscaper people told me I could use a rain barrel, but I seriously doubt it would have enough pressure for my 4 boxes and 2 flower beds all spread out. How many beds do you have? If one or 2, it would probably be fine.
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Re: Best thing I ever did for my SFG

Post  trukrebew on 5/9/2012, 11:44 pm

I have 3 beds: 2x6, 4x6, and 2x14. The rain barrel is set right at the end of the aisle between the first two beds, not more than 2 feet from the first square in each. So, I figure that two lines could come right from the tap directly into each of those beds and the water wouldn't be traveling that far.

It's the 2x14 that's the issue. It's at least 10' from the barrel and then stretches out away from it. So getting water to most of those squares will need a lot of help.

Well, even if I get half the garden watered from the barrel, I'll be 100% ahead of where I'm at now! Wink
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Re: Best thing I ever did for my SFG

Post  TejasTerry on 5/10/2012, 8:33 am

@trukrebew wrote:I have 3 beds: 2x6, 4x6, and 2x14. The rain barrel is set right at the end of the aisle between the first two beds, not more than 2 feet from the first square in each. So, I figure that two lines could come right from the tap directly into each of those beds and the water wouldn't be traveling that far.

It's the 2x14 that's the issue. It's at least 10' from the barrel and then stretches out away from it. So getting water to most of those squares will need a lot of help.

Well, even if I get half the garden watered from the barrel, I'll be 100% ahead of where I'm at now! Wink

Every little bit helps! I'm sure that would cut down on a lot of your time watering

I did a quick video of my system last night. I'm just walking around with my cell phone camera, but you can see how big the area is and why I didn't think the rain barrel would work with all the beds..:

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Re: Best thing I ever did for my SFG

Post  TN_GARDENER on 5/10/2012, 9:05 am

@walshevak wrote:So I though, bought 20 from home depot but the connectors didn't fit the soaker hose. Sad And neither Lowes nor Ace hardware had any either. Finally found 1/2" connectors on Amazon and ordered tonight. $45 for 10 male and 10 female. I have 10 beds to connect.

Kay

Interesting that you couldn't find the hose menders. Maybe they were sold out.







@trukrebew wrote:
The last question I have (for now Very Happy
) may be the deal maker for which system to use: Can I use a rain
barrel or is there not enough pressure? My barrel will only be about 6"
above the top of the boxes, but I could safely raise it up at least 12"
higher.

THere are low pressure drip hoses / soaker hoses out there that are
designed to be used with rain barrels. I've not used any of these, but
from what I've read, they tend to put out less water the farther they
are from the barrel.

Me, I use a water pump, rain barrel & hoses to deliver water. If
you hook an electric outlet timer to the pump you can automate things
(just make sure you have water in your barrel or you could risk burning
up your pump). Also, your emitters and/or soaker hose need to be rated
for low pressure and/or pressure compensating.

This isn't mine, but it gives you some idea of the pump setup:


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Re: Best thing I ever did for my SFG

Post  jeffhbell on 5/10/2012, 10:48 am

@trukrebew wrote:
The last question I have (for now Very Happy ) may be the deal maker for which system to use: Can I use a rain barrel or is there not enough pressure? My barrel will only be about 6" above the top of the boxes, but I could safely raise it up at least 12" higher.

I've read on Uni of Fla agricultural web site that you get 1# of pressure for every 12" height. I am guessing that for mini sprayers, you would need between 8-15# of pressure. For spot drips though I would think 1-2# would be OK.

Interesting thought.
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