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Irrigation

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Irrigation

Post  KBS on 3/23/2016, 6:13 pm

Greetings! First time posting to the form and I'm exciting about some irrigation insight. I've read several threads regarding drip irrigation for SQF gardening and if I'm being redundant I apologize. I do my SQF gardening at our local Community Garden, where I have 5, 4'x8' boxes. I only want to use drip irrigation because I'd like to avoid the leaves of the plants from getting wet. What is the ideal spacing to adequately water each sq foot? I love the, Garden in Minute system, but the quote I received for their system is way out of my price point. Rain Bird has me placing the drip lines 18" apart which seems to far apart for proper coverage. Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

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Re: Irrigation

Post  AtlantaMarie on 3/23/2016, 6:39 pm

Hi KBS. Welcome from Atlanta, GA! Gee, you're the 2nd person in just a few moments asking about irrigation...

In your case, I'd recommend looking thru the archives in the upper left area. Just put in drip irrigation and search "inside." You should come up with a few topics on this...

If not, I'm sure someone will be on soon who can help! (I use a gravity-fed system from a water tank, so no help there... :-) Sorry!)

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Re: Irrigation

Post  No_Such_Reality on 3/23/2016, 7:31 pm

Hello fellow SoCaler!

I will preface anything I say regarding watering as ymmv and you may wish to do the exact opposite I say considering my track record of watering mishaps. 

First and foremost, which part of SoCal?  Do you know your sunset zone? We have everything from cool misty coastal to fairly arid semi-desert. 

A lot depends on how established is your bed. 

I've had horrible luck with actual drip emitters. I have a post from about three years ago highlighting what I call the tunneling problem if you don't get the drip right. What happens to me the drip creates a water tube column that channels the drip straight down and out of the box while the peat dries out creating aaround it. This is a problem in new bed with store bought.compost due to many brands using peat. 

This year I'm going to try one bubbler per square and aim for a good soak. Plus I've got two inches of mulch on top. 

Feel free to ask any pointed questions, I'll freely share every watering screw up I've done to save you the frustration.

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Re: Irrigation

Post  ralitaco on 3/23/2016, 11:32 pm

Welcome from NC!
I don't have any irrigation...YET! But that is one of my many projects for this season. I will be following this with great interest.

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Re: Irrigation

Post  sanderson on 3/24/2016, 4:22 am

Hi KBS,  Welcome to the Forum from Fresno!  glad you\'re here  We love photos so please share your garden with us.  I use 1/4" drip lines with 6" spacing between emitters.  This provides 4 emitters per square and works with all plant spacings (1, 4, 9, 16)  www.Dripworks.com  For each 1/4" solid tube supply line you can only put 18 feet of the emitter tubing at 40 psi supply line.  Regardless of the automatic watering, I still use a thick layer of chopped straw as mulch.

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Re: Irrigation

Post  No_Such_Reality on 3/24/2016, 9:46 am

Hi Sanderson, how long are you running your drip tubing.  If it works on Fresno, I should be able to get it to work here.  

A big part of my prior problems are from not running long enough.  Your bed looks thoroughly wetted corner to corner.

Thanks

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Re: Irrigation

Post  KBS on 3/24/2016, 11:22 am

@AtlantaMarie wrote:Hi KBS.  Welcome from Atlanta, GA!  Gee, you're the 2nd person in just a few moments asking about irrigation...

In your case, I'd recommend looking thru the archives in the upper left area.  Just put in drip irrigation and search "inside."  You should come up with a few topics on this...

If not, I'm sure someone will be on soon who can help!  (I use a gravity-fed system from a water tank, so no help there...  :-)  Sorry!)
Thank you for the suggestion and for taking the time to help out, I really appreciate it!

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Re: Irrigation

Post  KBS on 3/24/2016, 11:30 am

@sanderson wrote:Hi KBS,  Welcome to the Forum from Fresno!  glad you\'re here  We love photos so please share your garden with us.  I use 1/4" drip lines with 6" spacing between emitters.  This provides 4 emitters per square and works with all plant spacings (1, 4, 9, 16)  www.Dripworks.com  For each 1/4" solid tube supply line you can only put 18 feet of the emitter tubing at 40 psi supply line.  Regardless of the automatic watering, I still use a thick layer of chopped straw as mulch.
Thank you very much, that is exactly what I was looking for. Your photo is a big help and I will post a pic of my beds once they are up and going. Since I decided to put in an irrigation system, I took the time to re-build all 5 of my boxes so nothing is happening at the moment. Hence, my anxiety to get this project going. LOL. =) Thank you again for taking the time to respond.

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Re: Irrigation

Post  KBS on 3/24/2016, 11:31 am

@ralitaco wrote:Welcome from NC!
I don't have any irrigation...YET! But that is one of my many projects for this season. I will be following this with great interest.
Once mine is up, I will share some pics. How many boxes do you have?

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Re: Irrigation

Post  KBS on 3/24/2016, 12:08 pm

@No_Such_Reality wrote:Hello fellow SoCaler!

I will preface anything I say regarding watering as ymmv and you may wish to do the exact opposite I say considering my track record of watering mishaps. 

First and foremost, which part of SoCal?  Do you know your sunset zone? We have everything from cool misty coastal to fairly arid semi-desert. 

A lot depends on how established is your bed. 

I've had horrible luck with actual drip emitters. I have a post from about three years ago highlighting what I call the tunneling problem if you don't get the drip right. What happens to me the drip creates a water tube column that channels the drip straight down and out of the box while the peat dries out creating aaround it. This is a problem in new bed with store bought.compost due to many brands using peat. 

This year I'm going to try one bubbler per square and aim for a good soak. Plus I've got two inches of mulch on top. 

Feel free to ask any pointed questions, I'll freely share every watering screw up I've done to save you the frustration.
Thank you for your feedback. My raised beds just went through an overhaul since the automatic watering system is going in. I saved all my "old" dirt and will amend it when I fill the new boxes. I will be on the look out for the, "tunneling effect." I can see how that may happen depending on your dirt. I've never mulched before, but after all the suggestions here, I will give it ago. Thank you again for your reply and I will post pics and progress.

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Re: Irrigation

Post  sanderson on 3/24/2016, 4:04 pm

NSR, I run the drips according to the temps. Maybe 10 min 2-4X a week in the spring and fall, 8-15 min a day in the scorching summer, with an occasional spray with the hose wand. The bed looks wet because I had just removed the winter cabbages, amended with compost, turn it over a little and watered it with the hose wand. Very Happy But the thing about the 6" spaced drip lines is that the water drips in a drop at time, allowing for some horizontal movement of the water before it drips out the bottom. The bottom inches are always wet even if the surface is dry. I also mulch heavily with chopped bedding straw, cut up in 4" pieces (removing as many wheat heads as I see). The beds made with 2" x 4" studs (some rescued from building site trash piles) stay moist and cool during the heat of the summer, as compared with the few boxes made with 1" x 8" fencing planks. Wood is a great insulator.

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Re: Irrigation

Post  ralitaco on 3/24/2016, 7:48 pm

@KBS wrote:
@ralitaco wrote:Welcome from NC!
I don't have any irrigation...YET! But that is one of my many projects for this season. I will be following this with great interest.
Once mine is up, I will share some pics. How many boxes do you have?
All of mine are Table tops...one is a 4'x4' and 2 are 2'x8'.
I have plans to build some more 2x8's but time and money...

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Re: Irrigation

Post  StrongAsMeat on 3/25/2016, 1:22 pm

Can I ask why most of you use fancy watering systems and not just use a hose with a multi nozzle sprayer? 

Thanks

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Re: Irrigation

Post  ralitaco on 3/25/2016, 1:37 pm

I can only speak for myself:
I AM LAZY!!!!
But with that said, I don't have a fancy system yet.

I look forward to hearing why the others have theirs

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Re: Irrigation

Post  No_Such_Reality on 3/25/2016, 3:11 pm

@StrongAsMeat wrote:Can I ask why most of you use fancy watering systems and not just use a hose with a multi nozzle sprayer? 

Thanks

Consistency.

For me anyway.  I haven't developed the good habit of going out at a consistent time every day to water for 15-20 minutes or longer by the time I pull stuff out and put stuff back.

In our semi-arid environment, I've had really bad problems with dry pockets.  They develop quickly during the hot months (this year that looks to be February thru November).  We had days in Feb when it was pushing 90 and the Santa Ana winds were blowing.  Even with mulch, it's kind of like pointing a hair dryer at garden bed. 

Hence, my quest to develop a automatic sprinkler that waters the entire bed but isn't dependent on my coming out with a hose on a regular basis. 

Of course, the down side is you go on autopilot. Get the watering marginally wrong and your bed still slowly dries out.

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Re: Irrigation

Post  sanderson on 3/25/2016, 3:38 pm

Mel encourages us to hand water each plant individually with a cup from a bucket of sun warmed water. That way we get to know our plants' needs. I don't know how many people continue doing this once they start expanding. ??

I use watering systems for several reasons, all of them related one way or another. There is no rain during the summer. My boxes are scattered every where and I have 2 hoses to cover my small back yard. I do water with the hose wands during the scorching heat in addition to the auto drip lines. When the summer gets into the 100s and the air quality warning is in the orange or red, 10-15 min outside is all I can take. The City requires watering at certain times and on specific days. If we leave for more than a day, I know everything is being watered at least enough to survive until we get back. Plus thick mulch is mandatory for the veggies to survive: it keeps the soil cool and moist.

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Re: Irrigation

Post  ralitaco on 3/25/2016, 4:49 pm

I forgot that Mel had specifically put that in his book. It is a great way to "force" yourself to get in the garden. And while you are there, you can pull the random weed or dead leaves, check for bugs, plant condition, etc. Another benefit of manual watering is that you can get your children involved and spend a few minutes of quality time with them.

I think I am trying to make an easy system (SFG) even easier by adding the watering system, but then I think that takes away from the reason I put in the gardens. I'm sure I'll end up with a combination of both

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Re: Irrigation

Post  CitizenKate on 3/25/2016, 7:08 pm

@StrongAsMeat wrote:Can I ask why most of you use fancy watering systems and not just use a hose with a multi nozzle sprayer?
You can put me down as being lazy.  Or you could say I do everything I can to keep my food costs down ("cost" including time and effort). Once you get more than 2 or 3 boxes, the watering alone starts to become a significant time commitment when doing it by hand. With 5 boxes, I had to find a faster and easier way to water them, or it just wouldn't have been worth the time to do gardening at all.

This is how I do mine:



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Re: Irrigation

Post  AtlantaMarie on 3/26/2016, 10:24 am

Kate, I like that set-up.

StrongAsMeat, the handwand is what I use unless I am traveling. I've got a drip hose, but it needs more work on the beds. I want to cut slots in the wood & make sure the hose is under the mulch.

Whichever method I use, the water comes from a 330-gallon tank I have hooked to the gutter to collect rain. So it uses gravity to feed it.

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Re: Irrigation

Post  ralitaco on 3/26/2016, 10:49 pm

Atlanta Marie,
Any chance you can post a picture of what you have set up, in particular the 330gal tank?
Or perhaps you have it posted in another thread.

Thanks

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Re: Irrigation

Post  CitizenKate on 3/27/2016, 12:14 am

I'd like to see that, too, Marie.

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Re: Irrigation

Post  AtlantaMarie on 3/27/2016, 4:23 pm

Okay, not sure if this link will work...

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t17681-finally-pictures-of-the-garden

If it doesn't, go to Home, Showcase Garden, Show us yours, Page 3 - Finally! Pictures of the Garden


You'll see that we have a hose attached to the gutter downspout. There's a set-up we got at HD that diverts the gutter water into the hose which goes into the water barrel. We got the barrel off of Craigslist for $80 delivered. (We have 2. That are actually connected, so when one fills, the overflow goes into the other one.)

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Re: Irrigation

Post  ralitaco on 3/27/2016, 7:17 pm


It worked. very neat and simple looking. Thanks for sharing.

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Re: Irrigation

Post  CitizenKate on 3/27/2016, 11:36 pm

@AtlantaMarie wrote:
You'll see that we have a hose attached to the gutter downspout.  There's a set-up we got at HD that diverts the gutter water into the hose which goes into the water barrel.  We got the barrel off of Craigslist for $80 delivered.  (We have 2. That are actually connected, so when one fills, the overflow goes into the other one.)
Very cool setup, Marie. How is the water delivered to the beds?

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Re: Irrigation

Post  AtlantaMarie on 3/28/2016, 7:23 am

Gravity fed thru a hose & wand. Or I just skip the wand and carefully water with just the hose... I prefer the wand. That way I don't have to bend over, lol!

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