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Drip irrigation on a small farm - How do you reuse the mainlines from year to year?  RSS feed

 
Bernard Welm
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Location: Minnesota
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So I am looking at getting some drip irrigation for my garden/small farm. I get the parts that are available (T-Tape, main lines, the connecters between the two, etc).

I am just running into a hang up on how to use the main lines from year to year.

I get to hook up the T-tape you need to put a hole in the main line and then connect a barb so you can get water into the t-tape. Now at the end of the year when you put everything away do you take out all the barbs? or do you leave them in when you clean up the t-tape and the main lines?

The next year when you move your crops around and you change the number of t-tapes on the bed do you plug the extra holes in the main line (where there were barbs the previous year) or do you get barbs with valves and leave the barb in?


And since I am asking questions about drip tape anyways is there any great/better places to get them then others? So far from my research the best I have seen in getting a kit from dripworks.com
 
Nick Kitchener
Posts: 477
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
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There is more than one way to connect drip tape to the mainline. I would recommend you use couplings. It's a more expensive solution, but they are designed so that the trape can be disconnected from the main lines (for winter storage) and reconnected.

They look something like this:
http://www.irrigationdirect.ca/DL-250B600-Direct-Loc-.600-ID-x-1-4-Barb-700-or-710-Tubing-DL-250B600.html
 
David Irby
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Location: Locust Grove, VA
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We always left the mainlines and fittings in place and used the fittings with the valves so that we could open/close the flow to individual beds as needed. We did also use the "goof plugs" sometimes so it is nice to have a supply on hand when you are pretty sure that you don't want a line in the place anymore. The plugs are much cheaper than the fittings and can be removed and replaced with a barb fitting if you change your mind later (but probably not too many times before the hole would get stretched out and not seal well).
 
Bernard Welm
Posts: 80
Location: Minnesota
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David - That is really great to hear. I was hoping that the barbs (couplings or what ever they are called) can be removed and goof plugs put in and then the goof plugs can come back out if needed. I was trying to figure out if I should get the valves or not. So this year I just got the couplings (I was hoping I could do exactly what Nick was saying)

So basically you guys validated the thoughts I had.

I do agree with you David that you likely could not change the couplings/goof plugs too often or the pipe would start leaking around the barb. So I will just have to start purchasing valves the next years. (the fun of this being the first year we are selling stuff from our garden and also trying to scale things up - like getting real irrigation stuff.)
 
Allen Wimberly
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We got away from t tape and have started using just the main line with 1 gallon emitters on it cost a little more to get started but the line is of better construction and if a emmit cloggs you can clean them out easy enough plus you don't have to have a low pressure regulator on it to keep from blowing it apart
You can add or plug the holes as you need or you can move the tubing to the new bed with the same crop it had in it last yr so you don't have to redo line
 
Bernard Welm
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Location: Minnesota
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Allen - the 1 gallon emitters do sound easy to use. My medium term goal is to move from using well water for the garden to using rain water. I have a LOT of roof space so it should be easy enough to keep up with the water needs. I just need to get a water tank up in the air some time soon. (I likely will put it on a 4 "tree posts" inside my barn, which should get it up 15 feet or so)
 
David Irby
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Location: Locust Grove, VA
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Allen - can you give a few more details - maybe what size line you are using for the crop rows and which type of emitters (pressure compensating?)? A picture would also be very helpful and greatly appreciated.

I am very interested in something that would hold up better over multiple seasons than the T-Tape.

Thanks,
Dave
 
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