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Drip irrigation for next summer

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Drip irrigation for next summer

Post  HPartin on 7/13/2011, 11:42 am

I have relied on teenagers and husband to water when I am out of town and they don't understand the meaning of deep watering in 100 degree weather. I am starting to investigate a drip irrigation system for next summer. It's hard to start from pure ignorance Smile. Please excuse me if I don't make myself clear at first. I'm trying to wrap my brain around this one.

With multiple boxes, are there seperate lines for each box or can they connect from one box to another? How does one keep the in-between sections from being watered? I have 4 boxes that can easily be "linked" together. The other two can be linked together but there is a little bit of distance (20 ft) from the other 4, if that makes sense. [in other words i have a set of 4 and a set of 2) Would I need a seperate water source for those? The water source (spigot) is about

For added information all my boxes are 4x4. 50 feet from the set of 4 and 20 feet from the set of 2. Where does the drip irrigation start: from the spigot or the boxes?

Any help, advise would be most appreciated.

Thanks

Heidi

HPartin

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Re: Drip irrigation for next summer

Post  TN_GARDENER on 7/13/2011, 4:29 pm

Google is your friend. There is a lot of good info out there.

Sound like you would benefit from running a single main water line from your water source and then create separate "branches" for each of your grow beds. These "branches" would emit the water to your plants. The main line would simply carry the water to the branches. Therefore your pathways would not get wet (that's part of the beauty of a drip system).

A couple ways to emit the water to your plants. 1. use a separate emitter for each plant, 2. make the entire branches out of soaker hose or drip tape or t-tape for each of the grow beds.

Using emitters for each of your plants gives you lots of flexibility and allows you to customize your setup (your plants might not be evenly spaced and some plants need more water than others and the emitters come in all shapes n sizes). Using soaker hoses, drip tape or t-tape doesn't allow for as much customization, but it's simpler (don't really have to poke holes in your "branches")

TN_GARDENER

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Re: Drip irrigation for next summer

Post  FarmerValerie on 7/14/2011, 8:42 am

Go to http://www.dripworksusa.com/

They have starter kits.
http://www.dripworksusa.com/store/heartkit.php?lnk=ind290

They reccomend 6" space dripline for SFG.
http://www.dripworksusa.com/kits/_khdsd6.php

They have videos.
http://www.dripworksusa.com/video/default.php?lnk=left

They also offer free planning and assistance.

I bought a less expensive starter kit from Harbor Freight, and it turns out it was cheaper not less expensive. I am eyeballing some of the things at dripworks, including a filter that comes with the starter kit, and eventually a timer, I too have to rely on others to water in 100+ weather. They even have an inline feeder that you can hook up and it adds your compost tea to the water for you.

They also can give you info on connecting boxes, and shut off valves for boxes not being used. I eventually hope to get pvc pipe run out and around the garden with shut off valves on each box, and hoses in each box, but that is just me, and I am probably dreaming, a main hose may serve me better.
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FarmerValerie

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Drip in, soaker out

Post  No_Such_Reality on 7/14/2011, 1:43 pm

I have drip set up on my raised bed. I drive it off an an adaptor head on my in ground irrigation set up for the yard.

I tried drip tape and the soaker line you mentioned. Pulled it out and replaced with adjustable flow flag emitters. The soaker line just couldn't keep up with the heat, the flow rate is too slow. It created beautiful watering, but with my mix, I had nice little soaked areas that were 3 inches in diameter. So along the soaker line, I had a little 3-4 inch wet circle spaced every 6 inches.

Think of the following being the drip line W=wet, -=dry (each character space is roughly an inch). With a six inch soaker run and lines six inches apart, I got something like the following

-------------------------------------
-----W-------W------W-------W----
--WWW---WWW---WWW---WWW-- (line 1)
--WWW---WWW---WWW---WWW--
-----W-------W------W-------W----
-----------------------------------
-----------------------------------
-----W-------W------W-------W----
--WWW---WWW---WWW---WWW-- (line 2)
--WWW---WWW---WWW---WWW--
-----W-------W------W-------W----
------------------------------------

For deep watering on well established plants it okay. Anything running shallower roots, it's a problem. I had a stint of hot and dry 90F weather and literally, large parts of my bed ended up bone dry. The hot weather stints literally shrunk the wet area diameters due to evaporation and tended to force the drip straight down due to lack of wicking ability of the dried soil mix. It turned the pattern into this:

-----------------------------------
-----------------------------------
---WW----WW-----WW-----WW-- (line 1)
---WW----WW-----WW-----WW--
-----------------------------------
-----------------------------------
-----------------------------------
-----------------------------------
---WW----WW-----WW-----WW-- (line 2)
---WW----WW-----WW-----WW--
-----------------------------------
------------------------------------

The Flag emitters soak straight in too, but I can get higher flow rates which spreads the area a bit and target specific water intensive plants. I'm now trying to figure out a sprayer, bubbler, to give my a surface soak to help maintain the wicking ability of the soil mix. With the flag emitters, I can crank individual flags up or down. So using a higher flow flag 2GPH, I can set it at half mast to cut the flow and open all the way for the ones by my water thristy melons and cukes.

The soakers could work, but I figured I'd need to stagger run a line spread 4 inches apart. I'd be running three soaker lines on every linear foot for the length of the bed. That's a little dense on the soaker lines for my tastes. Hmm, maybe I'll bite the bullet and try again with the denser set up on the soakers.

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Re: Drip irrigation for next summer

Post  TN_GARDENER on 7/14/2011, 2:55 pm

The local stores carry some items, but their prices are often outrageous. Online is nice, but the shipping can be expensive. That's why I bought my hoses and heavier stuff locally, but bought a basket full of other stuff online.

I found The Drip Store to have very low cost shipping rates on the lightweight stuff (I think I pay about $1.90 to ship up to a pound of stuff (it takes a lot of emitters & accessories to weigh a full pound).
http://www.dripirrigation.com/



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Re: Drip irrigation for next summer

Post  HPartin on 7/14/2011, 5:27 pm

Thanks for your replies. They were very helpful. I've got some time to figure it out and think about how to configure it all. I am going to take a look at the online recommendations and ask around locally to see what can be done. For a non-engineered type mind, there's a lot to think about Smile.

Heidi

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Re: Drip irrigation for next summer

Post  FarmerValerie on 7/15/2011, 8:31 am

I'm sorry, I was in a hurry yesterday, I was not saying buy that dripworks is the best or only place to buy, I simply recommended them because of their videos and all the help they have available. They also will answer questions, even if you are "just looking". They can help you get informed, and then make an informed decision as to what you need for your garden. Ask locally too. Again, I was only trying to help you gather information, and yes shipping can be costly, but then so can going to town for me. I do know that you want a filter on your system, or the small tubes and emmitters can get clogged. At this point that's about all I know that I want next year. Keep us posted on your findings, I want one for next year too.
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