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Watering System

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Watering System

Post  opnorty on 1/21/2013, 5:34 pm

Hello everyone. First, I am new to the site. We put in our first bed last summer (8'x4') with mixed results. It was VERY dry last summer in our area, so I think watering (lack of) was our main issue. We also found that our garden was not laid out the best. Our tall plants were shading our lower plants, so several didn't work out too well.

We are learning from this, and in doing so, we are going to add a second bed. That will hopefully solve the shading issue - tall plants in one bed, lower plants in the new bed. Now, for the watering issue.

I've been looking into building 2 55 gallon rain barrels and using some sort of soaker hose/watering grid to make watering the garden easier. Here is where I am looking for input. I am planning on putting the barrels by the downspout, and running hose to the beds. There is about 10 feet of fall from the barrels to the surface of the beds, and about 125' of distance. Would the grid get enough water/pressure to work? Would I be better off with low pressure soaker hose? I am planning on watering only one bed at a time. I am guessing that it would take about 32 feet of soaker hose per bed, or a -pretty good sized grid. Any suggestions?

Thanks

opnorty
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Re: Watering System

Post  llama momma on 1/21/2013, 5:43 pm

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/f72-do-it-yourself

The above is a sub forum from the Home Page, at least there is lots of reading there that could help you till someone else comes along. Sorry I can't help you directly. At this time I still hand water and use a wand.
Btw welcome to the forum!
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Re: Watering System

Post  TN_GARDENER on 1/21/2013, 6:00 pm

The low pressure hoses might work (i think they have a website of their own with better info).

Crazy as it sounds, another method is to use an aquarium water pump.

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Re: Watering System

Post  opnorty on 1/22/2013, 10:07 am

Thanks for the replies. Is there any benefit to using a watering grid vs a soaker hose, especially with a rain barrel?

I've looked at the low pressure soaker hoses out there, and they seem promising. The watering grid was a new concept for me when I stumbled across it yesterday. I guess I am wondering about the pros and cons of each system.

Thanks again, especially for reading such a long winded post.

opnorty
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Re: Watering System

Post  plantoid on 1/22/2013, 11:40 am

I kind of think you'll need to very fine filter the rain water or else the particles of gunge in it will clog the soaker hose from the inside plus it could be a nice place for all sorts of nasties to grow in the warmth and darkness of the inside of it .

Your tap water will already have been through a set of clean up filters though it may have chlorine etc in it to kill bacterial infections etc which might not be the best thing for some crops .

Mel touches on this when he talks about using a cup to water out of a bucket by each bed ( filled with a hose the day before so it evaporates in to the air ) for each plant when it is needed.
Usually filled with a hose etc the day before use so the chlorine evaporates into the air & also reaches a warm temp so not to cause plants shock with cold )

One way of getting rid of the chlorine is to use spray heads on your mains water line instead of a soaker hose so it goes into the air when the water is broken into droplets.
There are also micro bore dripper heads that can run off water barrels if there is a reasonable head of water '10 foot you seem to have enough of it.
These drippers can be set on 1 /4 "umbelical branch lines that run from 1/2" main lines you can run six drippers off each branch and around 15 branches off each main line .
If you allow each dripper to be on a three foot umbelical line it's easy to move each dripper around a bed to where the droplets are needed .
Most of the newer drippers are also flow adjustable so it is a very water economical set up to have but it is a little more expensive to set up than the previously mentioned self watering set ups.
You'll need a water time clock for turning water on and off or else you'll, soon empty your tanks wether things needed watering or not.

My drippers and spray heads are time clocked on the mains water system , run through a standard high pressure reinforced hose pipe and at the split off manifolds " which are on /off legged " Y 's " ) they run through simple flow reducers into to 1/2 " black PVC pipes . Then each leg is split off into whatever I need for each bed . It is there all year round , can be drained for winter and moved to one side when I want to get ugly with the beds and turn them over all at once with out disturbing other beds .

It might pay you to do a lot of thinking and so spend your money only once .. It took me four goes and four lots of money to get the set up I wanted & needed . I can if needed extend it just by pushing on some new back tubing.
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Re: Watering System

Post  opnorty on 1/22/2013, 12:28 pm

Thanks plantoid-
Very good comments. One reason for the rain barrels located where they are is that it is next to the hose bib on the house. If we don't get any rain for several weeks like last year, I can fill the barrel from the tap. That will give the chlorine a chance to be released and the water to warm up. In either method, I was planning on putting a filter at the rain barrel.

With the soaker hoses, wouldn't the environment inside the hose be the same as in the soil a few inches down, below where sunlight could penetrate? Just wondering why there would be more nasties in there vs in the soil. Last year, we did not have a big problem with bugs or fungi. Good point, just wondering.

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Re: Watering System

Post  CindiLou on 1/22/2013, 12:55 pm

I just use a pvc grid and hook up the hose! My barrels would have to be too high to get any pressure because they are too far away. Worked good last year. The watering didn't kill the bank too bad. The grid only waters the soil not the leaves. Anyway worked for me.
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Re: Watering System

Post  Turan on 1/22/2013, 1:28 pm

I have been using soaker hoses on some of the garden, straight from the faucet though. But our water is very hard well water and over the years the soaker hoses will get sort of plugged and hte flow will stop in spots. I just poke a hole in that spot with a thin nail. I can do that for a few years before I need to replace the hose. I think a hose lasts about 5 years for me. They are easy to replace. 25' does a 3X8 bed nicely. I have all the hoses collected to one faucet and an automatic water timer on that. So the garden gets watered at noon every day for half an hour as the default time.

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Re: Watering System

Post  plantoid on 1/23/2013, 3:20 pm

@opnorty wrote:Thanks plantoid-
Very good comments. One reason for the rain barrels located where they are is that it is next to the hose bib on the house. If we don't get any rain for several weeks like last year, I can fill the barrel from the tap. That will give the chlorine a chance to be released and the water to warm up. In either method, I was planning on putting a filter at the rain barrel.

With the soaker hoses, wouldn't the environment inside the hose be the same as in the soil a few inches down, below where sunlight could penetrate? Just wondering why there would be more nasties in there vs in the soil. Last year, we did not have a big problem with bugs or fungi. Good point, just wondering.

The muck & debris off the roof will flow with rain into the barrels the microscopic life therein will grow especially when the soaker is laid on the top of the MM .


To prove a point get a jug of fresh rain water out your barrel , then & by pouring it in from a couple of feet above the plastic bottle to get air into it , cap the bottle lightly and put it in a warm dark cupboard for a week or so . Then look at the bottle in broad daylight . There will be all sorts of stuff growing microscopically and plenty that is visable to the naked eye.

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