Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Watering System

Heather asked for an overview of the watering "system." So, a little tutorial on the easy-peasy, hardware store-parts irrigation method I'm trying with the new garden.

Currently, the source is the pressurized water from the city. This should hopefully be a temporary situation, since we're harvesting rainwater. At least I'd like to be dependent on non-gray or -rainwater for much less of the year.

The pinkish hose then runs out to the master pipe for the whole garden.

It took me some time to get that to stop dripping. I had to buy aftermarket rubber rings. I think it's done the trick. We dug a ditch, starting at this point, and running along the middle of the new beds, and over to the existing ones, where a ditch then ran the length of those, in between them.

At the corner of each bed, about 1.5' from the center pipe, we laid a cross connection. That led to feeder pipes and then up to the stand pipes with valves. We got good at glueing up elbows and ts and cross pieces. The valves are simple ball valves, but I can adjust the flow using those. We tried to get them sitting right at the top edge of the bed.

But, as you can see, a couple were too tall. I may take the time to lower that -- some time. They're just that much more vulnerable to breakage sitting up like that. In the picture above, you can see the remnants of the drip system installed by professionals with an automated timer and everything. It never, ever worked well.

One drawback to this post-hoc construction is beds like these.

This year, I may just have to remove those cross-pieces and deal with the slope. On the bed closest to the chicken coop, there's a double spigot so we can theoretically have water all the time to the coop. So far, I haven't left the pressure on, regulating it instead from the house, so I don't know how that would work. We did do our best, but I haven't felt up to testing it yet.

In the future, I'd like to have it set on a timer, so that I could leave it for a week or so and rest assured that each hose would deliver water to each bed. I'd also like to install a pressurizing water pump so we could use those rain totes to water with, even going so far as to put the recycled bath water in them because it would be used so quickly. This will take not only time but money.

When our children make it big as rock stars, though, you can bet I'll get that rainwater system working really well!


Jeff Vandiver said...

One day, I'm gonna have to install some type of watering system for my beds. I'm not getting any younger, ya know!

kitsapFG said...

I am incorporating more soaker hoses for beds that are long term plantings (season long) and bigger sized crops. The rest is still watered quite manually - so I am envying your nice set up. Thanks for sharing how you set it up. Got some ideas that may prove useful in the future.

Michelle said...

Oh I do have a love-hate relationship with my watering system. I does make watering easier and saves water also. But when things don't work right it is such a pain to fix. I've got a leaky valve right now that requires some major digging... In the meantime I keep the water off to that part of the system when it's not in use.

Heiko said...

This is a well impressive set-up. I need my daughter to become a rockstar already (or at least make some more out of her modelling career...) to be able to afford even a modest system. I'm also the worlds worst plumber! You fancy coming over to Italy and help installing a system for us?

Unknown said...

Thanks so much for sharing your watering system. I would like to develop one in the near future and it helps to see what others are doing.

Esperanza said...

I am a big fan of any rock star thats got carrots featured on their stitches.

Stefaneener said...

EG, it's a real help. Standing out there with a hose every day, while I loved recycling water, made me crazy.

kitsapFG, it's been useful so far. Seedbeds, of course, require more care.

Michelle, I was just thinking to myself yesterday, "The only thing I hate about farming is irrigation," and then laughing, given how easy my "farm" is. We buried things fairly shallowly, and have sand, so fixes aren't too bad.

Heiko, we're all about our children supporting us in our old age! Funny you should ask, as we're heading to Italy in just about a year for a month or so. I'd be happy to dig irrigation ditches.

GrafixMuse, it will really be fun when it's more recycled and rain water!

Esperanza, we try to have some perspective. She utterly rocks. Every single morning, it's breakfast and Bowling for Soup.

Unknown said...

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Heather said...

You are great! I was so hoping you would post about this and tonight (I am a little behind) I see the ultimate post in my book! Thanks so much. I am hoping to copy this next year as watering was the bane of my existence this summer. I need a more water economical way to do things. I don't like to waste water.

Thanks for taking the time to show and tell. You made my winter planning much easier!

Grain Damaged said...

I always think about putting together a watering system of some type and yet cannot be bothered with all the work of it. (Even though I know it would save me work in the end).
I Love how you have yours set up, hacked together with ingenuity and cunning! Plus less expensive then a "professional" version? I'm also all about the cheap these days too. It's very inspiring. I may change my mind this winter when I'm stuck in the house and dreaming of the garden.

Stefaneener said...

Thanks for the award, GrafixMuse. I probably won't do anything with it, but I appreciate it!

Heather, I'm glad! I like the flexibility in this system, as we can change from where the water comes.

Hey, Jenn, I don't know that it's much less expensive (at least parts-wise) than a professionally-installed one, but I know how to work it, and how to fix any problems. Remember, we don't get freezes, and we have sandy soil -- both of those make it easy for me to design it. I used big soak hoses because that's what I know and I don't have to use pressure reducers for them versus the teensy ones.

It wasn't that long of a project, and if you could get someone to dig those ditches for you it would certainly be easier. Cutting PVC isn't fun, but it's doable, and having two of us made the glueups much easier. I'd love to see someone else try something like this.

Susan said...

One thing I love about you is what you consider easy peasy, I can easily seeing you advocating an easy peasy DIY lunar lander kit. Ok, not your thing, a homemade tractor, maybe? I'm still debating whether I really should plant a shallot.

Toni said...

Dreaming about a drip irrigation system for my SFG!

My parents had a watering system put in for their lawn this fall... and wow... did it make a huge difference in their lawn. It became green and full... and so pretty.

Thanks for sharing your drip system!