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movable drip irrigation for a small farm?  RSS feed

 
Gilbert Fritz
Posts: 1257
Location: Denver, CO
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I run a small community farm, growing vegetables. The garden is set up in 50 foot narrow beds. I am wondering if I could buy some black poly tubing, punch lots of little emitters into it, and attach a hose fitting to one end. Then I could lay it along side a row, screw my hose into it, leave it for an hour or so, and then move it to the next row.

I have to keep everything really cheap. At the same time, I can't spend that much time hand watering. Sprinkler irrigation will all blow away and evaporate in the climate, and the tomatoes don't like it.

Any comment, suggested equipment, etc.?
 
Adam Hoar
Posts: 43
Location: NH
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Have you looked into soaker hose, like what construction companies use on concrete during the summer? I have use sections of that in my garden with good luck.
 
Judi Anne
Posts: 46
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$20 gets you 50 feet of soaker hose. Lasts about 3 years in my experience.

Poly tubing is cheaper per foot when bought in a roll, but I am not sure about emitters. I inherited a big box back when I used it.

If you use poly tubing you might be able to afford tubing for each row and only move your hose around. Moving gets tedious and it gets easy to rough up the plants as they grow out.
 
Michael Bushman
Posts: 144
Location: Sacramento, CA
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What you want is this tubing with integral emitters and it is $50 for 100' of tubing. Add in a $35 electronic timer and you have an automated drip system and that is some seriously civilized time saver. It helps to add a filter to keep out grit but it isn't required.
 
Miles Flansburg
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Posts: 3903
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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Gilbert I have gotton all sorts of irrigation stuff on craigslist. Like this:

http://denver.craigslist.org/grq/5117650790.html

 
Tegan Russo
Posts: 34
Location: Maritime Northwest USA, zone 8b
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I don't know what I'd do without soaker hoses. I keep them buried in mulch in my garden beds, and I just rotate the feeder hose between them and set a timer for myself to remind me when to move to the next bed. You can get a 50' one for $15-20. If there's any way for you to get enough that you can leave them in the beds, it's very convenient.
 
Blake Wheeler
Posts: 166
Location: Kentucky 6b
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How many beds do you have?

The black poly is cheap ($13 for 100 ft at lowes) but the emitters get pricey. They'll typically run $5 for 15 of them and they add up quick. You also have to attach a pressure regular, faucets supply too much pressure, and a filter to keep the emitters from clogging. The little odds and ends you have to buy is what costs you. If you go drip do it right and spend the extra money to run it to each bed. Moving it will get old fast. Throw on a automatic valve to the faucet and the watering handles itself.

If you're planning on moving it bed to bed it would probably be a better decision to go with soaker hoses. I prefer drip myself, but I don't have to move them back and forth either. Benefit to most commercially available soaker hoses is they work with standard faucet pressure, hook em up and go
 
raven ranson
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Posts: 5285
Location: Left Coast Canada
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We use some of that black irrigation system, with the emitters. On the farm, it works best as a semi-movable system. One where we set it up for a month or six then move it. The big problem with moving it, is that the holes where the emitters (or emitter tubes) fit into the big tube, work loose easily and the hole gets too big, and then leeks far too much and either needs to be plugged or cut out and spliced back together. The cost of repair and replacement, not to mention the constant frustration, makes me think that setting this up as a mobile system, wouldn't work in the long term.

Irrigation that need to be moved more than once a month, we use soaker hose or water by hand.
 
Seva Tokarev
Posts: 79
Location: Minnesota, zone 4, loamy sand
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It is my understanding that soaker hose requires significant pressure. What do people use when watering from a rain barrel (which only creates 1-2 PSI)?
 
Ann Torrence
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Location: Torrey, UT; 6,840'/2085m; 7.5" precip; 125 frost-free days
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Moving->breaking->replacing. Not to mention damaging plants and time better spent elsewhere.

We get our stuff from Dripworks. This might work for you 4000' of emitter tape for $270. I'd ask them for a commercial or non-profit account and see if you get a better price.
 
raven ranson
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[quote=Seva Tokarev]It is my understanding that soaker hose requires significant pressure. What do people use when watering from a rain barrel (which only creates 1-2 PSI)? [/quote]

I either use a watering can, a drip irrigation that is designed for low pressure, or collect the water at a higher elevation to where I want to use it - ie, at the top of the hill, with the garden at the bottom. There are lots of other ways to do it, I'm told, but those are the ones I use.
 
Tegan Russo
Posts: 34
Location: Maritime Northwest USA, zone 8b
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[quote=Seva Tokarev]It is my understanding that soaker hose requires significant pressure. What do people use when watering from a rain barrel (which only creates 1-2 PSI)? [/quote]

Search for bulk rain barrel soaker hose. There's at least one company that makes hose specifically for lower pressure from rain barrels.
 
Paul Fookes
Posts: 10
Location: Gulgong, NSW, Australia
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We have an ultra low pressure setup that waters all our gardens very well. The pressure at maximum is 8 foot pounds. running out of a tank on the ground. We bought the biggest roll of 1/2" poly we could get. and a bag of pigtails which are the black poly things the grape growers use to attach the poly to their dripper wires. Every foot we drilled a 1/16' or 2mm hole and put a pigtail over it. This keeps the ants, dirt and insects out plus it allows a good flow of water. We use this on berries, grapes and newly established fruit trees via a home made automatic irrigation system. The garden is manually operated. The fixed pipes are under the mulch and checked annually. In the garden, plants are set out at 1 foot spacing both sides of the poly, The pigtains are a couple of cents each compared to other drip systems that block or later fail because ants build nests in the fine flow restrictors. Hope this helps.
Cheers
Paul, From down under
 
Dan Huisjen
Posts: 51
Location: Acadia Region, Maine.
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I got a bunch of used 1" black poly hose from the plumbers locally. It's used. They don't like to re-use it in plumbing because it's harder and harder to get a good seal on as it ages. So I can get it free sometimes. I also managed to score a gallon of 1" plastic barb elbow fittings, which can be tapped in and out of the hose with a small hammer. These came from a surplus and salvage outfit at $2.00 per pound. And they're plastic, so they didn't weigh much.

At the bottom of the hill, I have a pond and a 2" honda semi-trash pump, with a screen on the intake. The pump pushes water into sections of 2" black poly hose, also free from the plumbers. I paid for fittings to get enough sections together to go the 250' up the hill, about a 15' rise.

In the garden, I split through a homemade manifold into four 1" lines. I use the barb elbows to string together whatever I need to get where I need to go, even if that's 150' to get over to the greenhouse. The final length of hose is my emitter section. The far end is plugged, and there's a 3/32" hole drilled all the way through the hose about every 18", with the drill line rotated 90° around the hose each time.

I like to put an emitter hose down the path between every 3rd bed, so the four hoses can do my twelve beds, each about 40' long, 4' on center. I usually leave the emitter hose in place and if I need to water elsewhere, I disconnect my 1" distribution hose from it and move it to another emitter hose, or maybe to just pour into a cistern or pig trough or whatever.

The water squirts out of holes and usually makes about an 8' arc stream. Rolling the hose slightly changes the angles and how far the arcs reach, but the idea is to wet the soil well. There's enough organic matter to sponge it up and spread it out. Now and again I have to go down the hoses with a small piece of wire and poke each hole to clear debris that the pump has sent up from the pond. That's not such bad work on a hot summer day.

I use no commercial drip emitters. They'd just clog.

I'd love to have a windmill to pump water. I'd use a single 1' line and move it regularly to different emitter lines.
 
allen lumley
pollinator
Posts: 4154
Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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Gilbert Fitz : Historically Northern New York is well watered by being east of the prevailing winds off of Lakes Erie and Ontario; We even have a term for

their negative impact on our lives "Lake Effect Storms ''. I mention this because while I have used drip hoses for years I have never had direct contact

with the organization,or the people linked to below, or needed to use their product!

I do know that They are a ''christian based organization'' and a large percentage of their sales are to NGOs helping local home based farming in 3rd

world countries ! see link below :


http://www.chapinlivingwaters.org

I hope this is timely and useful, for the good of the Crafts ! Big AL
 
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