I'm doing urban farming on lots of little bits of land, usually without longterm access, and sometimes a good distance from my house.
Because of the temporary nature of the plots, setting up an actual automatic irrigation system isn't an option. Also due to the same conditions, I'd rather use soaker hose than drip line. Soaker hose is not as efficient, but is easier to work with and less likely to fail in an invisible way. (This year some of my drip lines plugged up and I only noticed once the plants were pretty stunted.) Also, I've noticed that plants I water with soaker hoses are happier than with drip lines. I think that is because the drip line irrigates a bunch of little spots, while the soaker line irrigates a wide band. Since I'm largely depending on the breakdown of organic matter to fertilize the plants, and live in a very dry climate, keeping a wide band of soil moist is going to be more productive in terms of mineralizing nutrients for the plants.
The problem is that while I was able to run a lot of drip line off of one garden hose with the right adapter, 100' seems to be the maximum for a soaker hose. That's only 200' square feet of bed space.
I need a system that can be turned on manually, and then automatically run one section of soaker after another.
How would you go about setting something like this up?
They are several miles from my house, and generally a few hundred feet from the owner's house. I'm working with standard city water pressure through a hose bib. The square footage is usually between 500 and 2000 square feet.
As far as a y connector, that can help to spread it out, but I've heard that a total of 100 linear feet is all that average hose pressure can manage at one time. That seems to be borne out in my experience.
Are you sure about the "few hundred feet" from the owners house? That's a long way. Anyways to get that far you'll need a lot of hose maybe 6 50 footers. Then I would put a manifold at the end of the long run of hose dividing it 4 to 8 runs. Bear in mind that drip hose puts out decreasing amounts of water along its length so shorter runs would be better probably closer to 30 to 50 feet. At the manifold you'll need mechanical timers on each run or figure out an electrical clock and valves. Lots of mulch will help. Good luck.