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New drip irrigation contraption

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New drip irrigation contraption

Post  CitizenKate on 8/16/2015, 12:59 am

New drip irrigation contraption I made to water my square foot beds... based on an idea I got from my brother-in-law. No more hand-watering the green beans - *APPLAUSE*

I had problems before with trying to get the tubing anchored with stakes.  I decided to try just building a pvc grid to lash the tubing down to with zip ties.  It all just lays down on the surface of the MM.  The grid provides a solid foundation for the irrigation tubing, and also lays down that characteristic grid we rely on for square foot gardening.  That works.

I also had a problem getting the barb fittings to insert - broke a knuckle trying to do that.  Discovered that he fittings insert much more easily if you heat the ends of the tubing with a heat gun.

This is cheap and easy to put together - big plus!













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Re: New drip irrigation contraption

Post  sanderson on 8/16/2015, 2:41 am

Clever idea!

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Re: New drip irrigation contraption

Post  Marc Iverson on 8/16/2015, 2:54 am

CitizenKate wrote:New drip irrigation contraption I made to water my square foot beds... based on an idea I got from my brother-in-law. No more hand-watering the green beans - *APPLAUSE*

I had problems before with trying to get the tubing anchored with stakes.  I decided to try just building a pvc grid to lash the tubing down to with zip ties.  It all just lays down on the surface of the MM.  The grid provides a solid foundation for the irrigation tubing, and also lays down that characteristic grid we rely on for square foot gardening.  That works.

I also had a problem getting the barb fittings to insert - broke a knuckle trying to do that.  Discovered that he fittings insert much more easily if you heat the ends of the tubing with a heat gun.

This is cheap and easy to put together - big plus!
I don't know what barb fittings are or what you're talking about when it comes to heat guns etc., but love the idea of using some sort of system like this to water green beans.  Mine are sooooooo hard to water, especially without damaging the beans!  

I feel guilty each time I break something, but guilty for not trying to really get in there amid all the twisting vines and overlapping leaves and such ... in order to give those wonderful plants the water they need.
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Re: New drip irrigation contraption

Post  MackerelSky on 8/16/2015, 3:20 am

Nice setup Kate!

I know a few plumbers that have never used a heat gun for barbed fittings. I've seen them try to use Vaseline, soap, etc. And if you didn't have a heat gun, that small tubing could have probably been heated with a decent hair dryer to soften the ends and accept the fittings.

Another nice part about the heated tubing is that when it cools around the barbs it's almost guaranteed to be 100% sealed.

Nice work.
Brad
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Re: New drip irrigation contraption

Post  CitizenKate on 8/16/2015, 10:28 am

Marc Iverson wrote:I don't know what barb fittings are or what you're talking about when it comes to heat guns etc., but love the idea of using some sort of system like this to water green beans.  Mine are sooooooo hard to water, especially without damaging the beans!

All those elbow and tee fittings you see have barbed connectors.  Getting the tubing to slide down around them normally requires a lot of force.  I almost gave up on drip irrigation because of that.  But heating the tubing softens it enough to make it slide on like butter.

I never was that crazy about the idea of hand-watering everything.  But it was the green beans that made me decide I'm going to have to do something like this if I'm going to continue with the square-foot method.  I had the same frustration you had - trying to work through all that tangled-up foliage with the watering tube without damaging leaves or stems, or breaking off bean pods before they were ready to pick.  That and the mosquitoes.

MackerelSky wrote:
I know a few plumbers that have never used a heat gun for barbed fittings. I've seen them try to use Vaseline, soap, etc. And if you didn't have a heat gun, that small tubing could have probably been heated with a decent hair dryer to soften the ends and accept the fittings.
If your plumber friends are guys, they probably just have an easier time applying the necessary amount of force it takes to get the fittings to insert, unheated, than a 57 year old woman would, yes?  Yes, a hair dryer works, too, on both the small and large tubing.  My heat gun just works a little faster.
MacerelSky wrote:
Another nice part about the heated tubing is that when it cools around the barbs it's almost guaranteed to be 100% sealed.
I definitely did notice that.  The warm tubing forms very snugly around the barbs, and the fitting seals are holding better than the tubing itself.  See where I put that compression-fit coupler at the top-center of the grid?  That's where I blew a hole in the tubing with too much water pressure, and had to repair it.  The fittings are holding quite well.
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Re: New drip irrigation contraption

Post  Scorpio Rising on 8/16/2015, 10:33 am

Wow, very nice, Kate!
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Re: New drip irrigation contraption

Post  sanderson on 8/16/2015, 2:49 pm

I use a pan of hot water to soften the tubing.

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Re: New drip irrigation contraption

Post  CitizenKate on 8/17/2015, 12:42 am

sanderson wrote:I use a pan of hot water to soften the tubing.
Hot water - didn't think of that, but that's pretty clever, too, especially if you're working outside.
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Re: New drip irrigation contraption

Post  plantoid on 8/17/2015, 5:53 pm

Over here we have the 1/4 line connected to the 1/2" lines with a connector that is a slash cut angle and then three tiny ribs , the 1/4 line connects to the other end which is threaded

 In high summer last year this connection point proved to be a very weak link on the droppers that were in the green house & several in full sunshine in mid afternoon as temperatures neared 85 oF air temp the black lines became closer to 95 oF , the pipe got very soft and the lines or connectors on the 1/42 tube  flew off every time the time clock came on at such temps as we have a pressure operated system.

I solved it by making up over 140 small sleeves/ ferrule  about 3/4 of an inch long out of thin copper gas pipe that had an internal diameter of 6 mm .  The ferrule slid nicely over over  the 1/4 " neoprene rubber tube ..any expansion of the copper tube is acting externally & internally so no problems of it expanding and letting go of the 1/4" neoprene tube .

Using the supplied /available inserter it was a doddle to push the  connector into the 1/2 " pipe first then put the 1/4 tube in a ferrule and then screw it on the threaded spike .

 I made the mistake of trying to screw the threaded part in the 1/2" line first and it was not long before they came out or leaked badly as the temps rose.

 One thing I did find very useful was to take a broken 1/8 " Phillips screwdriver and grind it down on the metal till I managed to get a 1/6 long four side point point . I trialled in full working mode it first to see if I could puncture the 1/2 " tube without going right through & out the other side .
 It is brilliant  for making an the initial hole smaller that the official tools hole then follow it up with the official insertion tool 
 
My inserter has a hexagonal hole that you set the nipple in and simply push it hard into the now enlarge hole and joy of joy .....they don't leak .
I use loads of goof plugs to close up all the holes that had been made and had threaded end inserted in the 1/2 line .

 Screwing the 1/4 lines on the newly inserted nipple in the 1/2 " line saw me use a small ratchet small ring spanner/wrench  to rotate the captive nipple .

II screwed the 1/4" line on minus the actual dripper end , done  so you can take the spanner off again
 Putting my drippers on I had to use the open jaws of the spanner to hold the dropper , again it had a copper sleeve fitted to stop  it coming off when it was hot and under water pressure.
 Fitting the drippers on last has the advantage of you having some flexible tube to play with , this makes it quite easy .

This year none of the drippers has caused any problems nor have any started to drip from where it's not supposed to .
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Re: New drip irrigation contraption

Post  CitizenKate on 8/28/2015, 3:18 pm

Good info, plantoid. I wondered if I would have any problems with fittings coming loose, with the contraption sitting in the hot sun all day. I'm still testing this one, and been going out during the hottest part of the day and turning it on. So far, it's all holding together nicely.

I'm also thinking hose clamps would help to reinforce joints if they can't hold on their own.
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Re: New drip irrigation contraption

Post  sanderson on 8/28/2015, 5:53 pm

I have experienced the tubing coming off the barb when the tubing was not cut straight across. When cut with any angle resulting, the tip of the longer side prevents the full insertion of the barb to a tight fit against the collar.

We are only allowed to water at night so that eliminates water pressure during the hottest times. I have a thick layer of mulch over the tubing which also helps keep the multiple fittings from heating.

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Re: New drip irrigation contraption

Post  CitizenKate on 8/29/2015, 10:21 am

When I was shopping for materials, I saw the scissor-like tube cutter they had on the shelf with all the drip irrigation stuff for about $16. I looked at that and thought, nope, don't need that, I'll just use my utility knife.

I ended up going back for the tube cutter, because I could not cut that tube straight with my utility knife to save my life. It cuts the tubing straight with one easy chop. With 4 more contraptions to build, it turned out to be a good investment.

The guy on the sales floor also showed me a pipe cutter for $60 that he said cuts pvc pipe like butter. What a Face
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Re: New drip irrigation contraption

Post  sanderson on 8/29/2015, 12:35 pm

Yes, sometimes it just pays to buy some tool to make life (gardening) easier.

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Re: New drip irrigation contraption

Post  seamammal on 8/30/2015, 1:57 pm

CitizenKate wrote:When I was shopping for materials, I saw the scissor-like tube cutter they had on the shelf with all the drip irrigation stuff for about $16.  I looked at that and thought, nope, don't need that, I'll just use my utility knife
 
I bought a couple of those cutters and they really didn't cut well. I ended up using my Sears, cuts anything tool and it makes quick clean even cuts. 

This is such a great idea. I ran drip tubing down the center of all my grids with drip emitters every 12 in. Problem is the tubing gets out of position and the drip emitters don't soak the whole square, which is an issue for crops like onions. The other issue I have found is you cannot adjust the water for different plants. I like that you used the adjustable flow emitters that cover the whole square. 

Going to do an upgrade this winter and retrofit everything to your design. Well done.
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Irrigation in new beds

Post  Sweetmama on 3/20/2016, 6:54 pm

I know this is an old thread, but was hoping for some input from someone in N & C Midwest region.  I am new to   NE Ohio (Chardon) and am just assembling my beds.  Is there a need for installing drip lines or some type of irrigation here?  Locals tell me it rains quite a bit.  Anyone in my area that can answer this? 

Thanks in advance!
Sweetmama
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Re: New drip irrigation contraption

Post  Scorpio Rising on 3/20/2016, 7:07 pm

I am in Northwest Ohio, but I don't think I would worry about a permanent irrigation system. We (usually) get pretty regular rains, and as long as you can water with a hose that isn't super duper duper inconvenient I would let your first Ohio season ride and see what you think from here.

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Re: New drip irrigation contraption

Post  ralitaco on 3/20/2016, 7:37 pm

I missed this post when it was started back in the summer but I am so glad I found it now. I am planning on adding the PVC grid to mark my squares and was thinking about running water through them. I have seen several threads on doing this with the most common issue being drilling the correct size hole to get water flowing properly. 
I have found at harbor freight some very small drill bits that may work to get the correct size hole:
http://www.harborfreight.com/20-pc-carbide-rotary-micro-bit-assorted-set-62379.html

But I like the hose and the head you have in your picture, It looks like it can be moved around if needed. Also, I am guessing there are different spray patterns and multiple heads in one square are options.



So I am wondering, is there a way to connect that hose with the spray head directly into the PVC pipe?
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Re: New drip irrigation contraption

Post  sanderson on 3/21/2016, 4:22 am

Good question. The drip lines are flexible, allowing the barbs to be inserted. PVC is rigid. I did a search and couldn't come up with anything for PVC.

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Re: New drip irrigation contraption

Post  No_Such_Reality on 3/21/2016, 10:05 am

ralitaco wrote:
So I am wondering, is there a way to connect that hose with the spray head directly into the PVC pipe?

Yes, I've done it.  It involves using a thread cutter, boring a thread hole in the PVC (super easy), and then putting a thread drip bard into the hole (or other threaded drip heads).

You can also try the self tapping threaded emitters.

Either case, if I remember correctly you want a 5/32 inch drill bit and my emitters were 10.32 for the tap.

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Re: New drip irrigation contraption

Post  CitizenKate on 3/21/2016, 11:07 am

ralitaco wrote:I missed this post when it was started back in the summer but I am so glad I found it now. I am planning on adding the PVC grid to mark my squares and was thinking about running water through them. I have seen several threads on doing this with the most common issue being drilling the correct size hole to get water flowing properly. 
I have found at harbor freight some very small drill bits that may work to get the correct size hole:
http://www.harborfreight.com/20-pc-carbide-rotary-micro-bit-assorted-set-62379.html

But I like the hose and the head you have in your picture, It looks like it can be moved around if needed. Also, I am guessing there are different spray patterns and multiple heads in one square are options.

So I am wondering, is there a way to connect that hose with the spray head directly into the PVC pipe?
People have done it, and that is what I tried at first, but it has to be just so, to work at all, and with the lack of any actual plans to make it that way, my trial-and-error curve was getting pretty steep.  I just found this so much easier to get working.
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Re: New drip irrigation contraption

Post  CitizenKate on 3/21/2016, 11:34 am

Sweetmama wrote:I know this is an old thread, but was hoping for some input from someone in N & C Midwest region.  I am new to   NE Ohio (Chardon) and am just assembling my beds.  Is there a need for installing drip lines or some type of irrigation here?  Locals tell me it rains quite a bit.  Anyone in my area that can answer this? 

Thanks in advance!
Sweetmama
If you get regular rains during the summer and don't have to water much, you could probably live without it.

Kansas summers are typically pretty hot and we can go weeks sometimes with no precipitation, so I was out watering just about every day. It didn't take me too long to decide - though Mel recommends (prefers) hand-watering your SFG - I personally do not enjoy it. But what really drove me to do this was the green beans, which are really a pain to hand-water because the foliage gets so thick, it's hard to find the stems without damaging the plants. Getting eaten alive by mosquitoes while struggling through the green bean patch didn't make it any more pleasant, either. (Yeah, I know there are repellents, but I hate getting that stuff on my skin.)

None of these things may be a factor in your case, but as SR suggested, see how your first season goes, then you'll know whether it's worthwhile to do.
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Re: New drip irrigation contraption

Post  plantoid on 3/21/2016, 5:06 pm

CitizenKate wrote:New drip irrigation contraption I made to water my square foot beds... based on an idea I got from my brother-in-law. No more hand-watering the green beans - *APPLAUSE*

I had problems before with trying to get the tubing anchored with stakes.  I decided to try just building a pvc grid to lash the tubing down to with zip ties.  It all just lays down on the surface of the MM.  The grid provides a solid foundation for the irrigation tubing, and also lays down that characteristic grid we rely on for square foot gardening.  That works.

I also had a problem getting the barb fittings to insert - broke a knuckle trying to do that.  Discovered that he fittings insert much more easily if you heat the ends of the tubing with a heat gun.

This is cheap and easy to put together - big plus!













 To put the 1/4 " branch off nipples in th half inch tube I ground a small 1/8 dia screw driver blade down so it is a four sided metal stump just over 3/16 high  the handle of the driver  is about three inches long & gives a good grip to twist the four sided point into the half inch tube.

 There are purpose made plastic tools that you puncture the half inch tube with , they are not much use for making the holes.  However get hold of one if you can , for one part of the tool has a recess that you slip over the nipple then push the nipple into the pierced 1/2 " line. once in you screw the 1/4 tube line on to the nipple .

Having a small ring spanner/wrench that fits over the nut part of the nipple allows you to hold the nipple still whilst you screw the 1/4 line on to it .( saves you getting sore fingers if your doing a lot ).

 One other thing that I found very necessary is to find some 8mm copper tube and cut it into 3/4 lengths  clean up the burrs and flare the holes at each end with a punch over a small hole .. so it has a very slight diablo flared end sort of shape .
This allows you to slide a sleeve over each end of the 1/4 line as they often come apart in very hot weather when the slightest amount  of water pressure is put into the system  because the water temp in the 1/4  line can easily  be 100 oF or more in strong sunshine.

The spray /dripper  heads or the main joint to the 1/2 line  blew off no end of times on  my 1/4 lines till I came up with the copper sleeve idea , since then I haven't had a single joint come apart .
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Re: New drip irrigation contraption

Post  ralitaco on 3/31/2016, 12:16 am

Kate, I have been looking at lots of options for a grid/irrigation setup and keep coming back to yours. I really like the ability to insert a section of hose with a different end and have the ability to move it around.
The question I have is why didn't you make the entire grid out of the black tubing?
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Re: New drip irrigation contraption

Post  CitizenKate on 3/31/2016, 10:42 pm

Hmmm... good question.  It really just never occurred to me to try that.

The first thing I tried was a PVC watering grid.  I loved the grid you can create with rigid pipe and fittings, and loved the idea that the grid that marks your squares can also handle the watering.  They're easy to add and remove to/from the boxes, look sharp, and last a long time.  Some people have made ones that work fine, but the two I made failed miserably, and making one is a lot of work, so I decided to try something else.

Then I tried drip irrigation systems.  The simplest configuration for that was to have the main tubes running in one direction across the box, with emitters every so many inches to reach into the squares.  (At this point, I was thinking some other "device" would perform the function of marking the grid.)  The problem I ran into with that, was getting the [sassafras] tubing to stay where I put it.  It's very stiff and kinky, especially when it's brand new, and those dirt staples that are designed to hold the tubing in place were just not hanging on to that loose Mel's Mix very well.

Using the PVC grid with zip ties was mainly just my alternate solution to anchoring down the drip irrigation tubing and making it stay exactly where I wanted it.  It provides the additional benefit of making that nice, tidy grid that can easily be laid down on top of the box and easily lifted off at the end of the season.

I can't think of a reason why making a complete grid with the drip irrigation tubing wouldn't work.  I don't think it would increase the overall tube length enough to create too much of a drop in water pressure, but I can't say how it might affect the water pressure at the emitters to add those cross pieces.  I don't think there would be the same issues with anchoring...  might just have to try one and see.
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Re: New drip irrigation contraption

Post  ralitaco on 3/31/2016, 11:35 pm

CitizenKate wrote:...I loved the grid you can create with rigid pipe and fittings, and loved the idea that the grid that marks your squares can also handle the watering.  They're easy to add and remove to/from the boxes, look sharp, and last a long time.
EXACTLY! Those are some of the very thoughts I had about using PVC. I also thought that if I did not glue them (perhaps used screws) I could remove sections if I was planting something that needed 2 squares (e.g. - Zucchini)

CitizenKate wrote:Some people have made ones that work fine, but the two I made failed miserably, and making one is a lot of work, so I decided to try something else.
I am concerned about running into the same issue. However, I did find some micro drill bits at Harbor Freight that I thought might work since it appears the holes need to be very small in order to get a good stream of water out. But also, there is no control over where the water will go.

CitizenKate wrote:Then I tried drip irrigation systems.  The simplest configuration for that was to have the main tubes running in one direction across the box, with emitters every so many inches to reach into the squares.  
I had not ever messed with drip irrigation so I was quite uneducated (and still am) however, I really liked the 1/4" lines with the spray heads or other ends. It seems like there would be some flexibility with where to put the water and the type of end if depending on how many plants are in the square.

CitizenKate wrote:(At this point, I was thinking some other "device" would perform the function of marking the grid.)

The problem I ran into with that, was getting the [sassafras] tubing to stay where I put it.  It's very stiff and kinky, especially when it's brand new, and those dirt staples that are designed to hold the tubing in place were just not hanging on to that loose Mel's Mix very well.
That is where I am stuck right now. I would like to use the drip system to make watering quick and efficient, but I don't know that I want a grid AND the 1/2" drip lines too. For me, especially in my 2x8's, I think it would look very crowded even before the plants come in.

CitizenKate wrote:I can't think of a reason why making a complete grid with the drip irrigation tubing wouldn't work.  I don't think it would increase the overall tube length enough to create too much of a drop in water pressure, but I can't say how it might affect the water pressure at the emitters to add those cross pieces.  I don't think there would be the same issues with anchoring...  might just have to try one and see.
Here is one that I saw online:

It appears sturdy since all the sides are connected. This version has holes in 1/2" and no 1/4" lines coming off.

I'm starting to think that string and the garden hose are going to be my answer
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ralitaco

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Re: New drip irrigation contraption

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