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Irrigation question for DFW peeps

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AtlantaMarie
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Post  kamigh 5/4/2014, 10:59 pm

It's my first year SFGing and I'm worried about the hot summer with these raised beds. So far I've done well by soaking each square by hand with a regular old garden hose most nights (much more than the cup per square that Mel recommends!). However, it's been a cool spring and warm hot windy days are coming fast.  I'm seriously thinking about adding a drip irrigation system (Dripworks) so that my beds will automatically get water every morning as well, but I wanted to hear what others have done.
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Post  kauairosina 5/4/2014, 11:40 pm

and put them on timers.  We are away many weekends and cannot trust house sitters (or ourselves) to water as necessary.  We bought one Drip Works kit and my grandson determined that he could do everything the kit does with purchased drip irrigation parts for a little chdaper.

I also recommend the http://www.digcorp.com/irrigation-homeowner/battery-operated-controllers-hose-end-timers.

These timers are a bit pricey at first but they are automatic, use a 9 volt battery (which is a b**ch to replace)but they last and have a 3 year warranty, which I did not know until I took my first one in to get a new one. The clerk looked at the serial number and gave me a new one free!!

The timer can be set for automatic watering and also to hit a button and water for a determined amount of time.
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Post  GloriaG 5/5/2014, 12:02 am

Hi kamigh,  I live in Double Oak very near you.

I use an irrigation system made of 1/2" pvc pipes.  It is my grid as well as my watering system.  I simply cut and connected pvc pipe to make 12" squares and drilled several 1/32" holes in each. 

Irrigation question for DFW peeps 20130110

The system has a timer and is attached to a hose that operates from our well.  When it's hot I water about four times per week and let the water thoroughly penetrate the MM.  For me - that's 7-10 minutes at a time.

Right now I'm still watering by hand twice a week.

The system seems to work well and I like the idea of knowing the garden will be watered even when I'm not home.   

Hope this helps.
Gloria
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Post  sanderson 5/5/2014, 12:49 am

This is from hot summers Fresno, CA. This photo is from last year. Drip Works has 1/4" lines with drip emitters every 6", so that is 4 emitters per square. I also mulch heavily to keep the water from evaporating and the Mix cool. It's nice if you can put them on a timer like Gloria and I have. Gloria, very nice looking set up you have.

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Post  lyndeeloo 5/5/2014, 7:19 am

GloriaG wrote:Hi kamigh,  I live in Double Oak very near you.

I use an irrigation system made of 1/2" pvc pipes.  It is my grid as well as my watering system.  I simply cut and connected pvc pipe to make 12" squares and drilled several 1/32" holes in each. 

Irrigation question for DFW peeps 20130110
Hi Gloria,  your garden is set up is really beautiful! I would like to make a watering system like you have made. How far apart did you drill the holes and are they on the sides of the pipe or the top? It looks like the grid sits directly on the ground, yes? How much area does the grid cover and how many inlets from the hose are there? I'm wondering how to get the water into the system evenly so as to not over water one spot and under water another. I tried to do this last spring and I made a terrible mess of it. Any details would be appreciated.  Thanks
 Linda
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Post  AtlantaMarie 5/5/2014, 7:52 am

Gloria, I agree!  I'd really like to know more about your set up.  Could you get some close-ups for us?

How does the PVC stand up to your summers/winters?  Here in GA, we tried PVC on a couple of things, but it ended up breaking really quickly.  My husband said it's from the sun hitting it...

Thanks.
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Post  GloriaG 5/5/2014, 11:08 am

Hi AtlantaMarie and lyndeeloo,

Thanks for asking about the grids.  First let me say that I didn't originate this idea.  There are a number of SFG's who make watering grids and many are much more complex than mine.  So you might do some research on this site for other installations as well.

For mine,

  • the pipes are 1/2" PVC so they are a almost 1" wide.  I just plant each square as if the grid isn't there.  I've never had a problem with the grids covering too much ground.


  • My system is 3-years old and still working fine.  It stays in place all year round although we don't use it in winter because we shut our well down before a chance of freeze.  In spring, I flush it to get any debris out before I use it.  I expect that at some time I'll need to replace parts, but nothing yet. Because it's like a tinker-toy set, when I do need to replace some, I'll simply replace any cracked or broken pieces.


  • On my 12' beds, I have three inlets from the hose along the side.  On the 6' and 8' beds I use two on the side and on the narrow 2'x8' bed I have one on the end.  This seems to work OK.  I haven't noticed any dry spots or puddles.


  • I used a 1/32" drill bit (have to purchase this online) for the holes.  I also used a dremel tool to do the drilling because it was easier to handle than my regular drill.


  • There are 4-holes per side in each square.  They are offset so that the left side, right side, top and bottom of the grid created full coverage in the square.  That way, I could be sure everything would water thoroughly regardless of what was planted in the square.


  • I drilled the holes at about a 45 degree angle so the water makes an arc.  In future I will go with almost straight up.  Sometimes a hole is a little bigger or smaller than the others and it's causes the water to "shoot" further than expected.  By making the holes closer to the top, the water shouldn't travel so far.  BTW - you can plug unwanted holes with a little super glue.


  • My system is super simple so I don't have any water filters or pressure regulators etc.  I have a hand valve on the pvc feed for each bed that I can use to regulate the pressure for that bed.


  • I have a hose timer that I bought online that has two ZONES.  It permits me to water two areas separately.  I have five beds, so I've hooked the three smallest beds together on one zone and the two 12' beds together on the second zone.  For me, it's great because the two 12' beds don't require as much water as the three smaller beds - so I can program it that way.


  • From a working standpoint - First: I cut all the pvc pieces with a pvc pipe cutter to 10 1/2".  That way the finished squares were 12" when pushed into the "X" fittings.  Second: I drilled all the holes in the 10 1/2" lengths. Third: I stuck them into the pvc "X" fittings and put the end-caps on.  Fourth: I had my husband help me "squeeze" the whole thing together tightly before we carried it over and laid it in the garden.  Nothing is glued except the fittings that go directly to the hose - because they're on the outside of the box and may get bumped as I work.


  • When I'm reworking a bed, I just life the grid out, add my compost and fluff a little before laying the grid back down.  Super simple.



I hope this helps, good luck.
Gloria
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Post  GloriaG 5/5/2014, 11:13 am

Oh heck! I'm sorry, I can't seem to get the spacing right on the prior post.
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Post  sfgteachers 5/5/2014, 11:16 am

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Post  lyndeeloo 5/5/2014, 3:09 pm

Thanks Gloria. Much appreciated and very helpful. Forgive me, my brain is fried today, I am unclear as to where exactly the holes are drilled. I just can't picture it. That's where I made my mistake last time and ended up with a horrible mess. Water shooting everywhere.  affraid Just don't want to go there again. 
Thanks, Linda
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Post  GloriaG 5/5/2014, 11:22 pm

Hi lyndeeloo,

Not a problem.  It's really hard to see the holes in the pipes even when you're standing by the garden because they're so tiny.  But here's a closeup from the end of the season last year.

Irrigation question for DFW peeps 2013-110

The three red arrows are pointing to the some of the 10 1/2" pipes I drilled for each square.  The holes are in a row on top of the pipes so the water shoots up like a little fountain. 

The blue arrow points to the feed line that runs from the hose to the bed.

The green arrow on the right is pointing to the red handled in-line valve.  To keep the water from shooting all over the place, I closed the valve part way until the water was just spraying up a few inches. 

Seemed to work ok.
Hope this helps.
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Post  lyndeeloo 5/6/2014, 5:50 am

GloriaG,  THANK YOU so much for the detailed photo. I think I've got it now. The simplicity of your system is beautiful. Love it. I think I see where my mistakes were now. I drilled the holes on the sides of the pipe and they shot all over. Also the inline valve is key. I have city water and I'm told our water pressure is somewhere around 90 psi. Control at the grid is the answer to that problem. I was trying to control all the grids on the same line from the faucet. This is great! With all this in mind I think I will tackle this project again. I also glued all of the pipeline together,  so when it didn't work I was stuck. Thanks for taking the time to share your idea and experience.  Much appreciated! !!
Linda
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Post  GloriaG 5/6/2014, 10:45 am

You are welcome.
Hope all works out for you.
Happy Gardening,
Gloria
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Post  kamigh 5/6/2014, 1:56 pm

Thanks everyone, especially Gloria, for your input!  I'm so excited about this garden it's ridiculous.  I've been eating radishes and tons of lettuce while I wait for everything else to grow and I just can't bear to think of everything wilting in this hot Texas heat.  You've given me the courage I need to jump in and get my irrigation system going before I wilt in the heat installing it!
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Post  AtlantaMarie 5/7/2014, 1:07 pm

Thanks Gloria & Belinda!  That certainly gives me some ideas on what I want to do. 

Any idea on how they do with a gravity feed?  I'll be hooking them to my 330-gallon water "buckets."
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Post  GloriaG 5/8/2014, 10:54 am

Sorry I run mine from our well. 

I suspect that your success with using a gravity feed will depend on the amount of gallons present in the tank and how high you elevate the water tank compared to the garden.  I know there is a relationship between water pressure and elevation since water wants to be "level".

Perhaps someone with more experience using gravity feeds will be able to help with this, or someone can calculate the math for your 330 Gal bucket.

Good luck.
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Post  once111 5/25/2014, 10:06 pm

GloriaG wrote:
...Not a problem.  It's really hard to see the holes in the pipes even when you're standing by the garden because they're so tiny...

Hey, Gloria.  Thank you for all the good info.  I just finished making a pvc watering setup for one of my boxes.  Once I got everything together, I took it out to give it a whirl.  I quickly realized I did something wrong.  My grid does not fit into my box.  After a bit of pondering, and a little measuring, I realized that by using 4' long boards the interior of my 4'x4' box is not exactly 48" wide.  The inside of my box is actually 46-5/8" wide.  When I made the watering grid, I made all the sides, not just the interior grid lines.  I came back to this thread to see if I missed anything and to look at your pictures more closely.  It looks like you only made the interior lines and not the exterior perimeter.  I am not sure if my building an exterior perimeter is why I cannot fit my grid inside the box.  Should I have shortened my exterior pvc more than the 10.5" used on the more interior pieces?  Or should I have not made the perimeter lines and just capped the lines headed out towards the sides of the box?
  
The way it is now, it will set on top of my box, but the water is not very well contained, and the water will be originating 2"-3" above the soil.  When I put it together, I followed your advice of not gluing it together, so I can make some changes.  My holes are about the only thing that would be fixed.  Am I worrying too much about the grid being inside the box?  

Any insight on what I should do at this point would be appreciated.
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Post  kensadams 5/25/2014, 10:41 pm

sanderson wrote:This is from hot summers Fresno, CA.  This photo is from last year.  Drip Works has 1/4" lines with drip emitters every 6", so that is 4 emitters per square.  I also mulch heavily to keep the water from evaporating and the Mix cool.  It's nice if you can put them on a timer like Gloria and I have.  Gloria, very nice looking set up you have.

Irrigation question for DFW peeps 4-27-113

I have the same set up more or less - Curious - how often and how long do you water with the drip lines?  Thanks!
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Post  sanderson 5/26/2014, 2:15 am

Kensadams, We are on water restrictions so it's 15 minutes 3x week. In the heat of the summer, I hand water (with a hose wand) the other 4 days. The beds constructed from thick 2 x 4's are easier to keep moist and cool. The beds made of thinner fence planks (8" x 1") dry out faster. The 1' x 1' mini boxes only work in the winter/spring! And here I thought I was so clever to have the cute little mini boxes. I also mulch with 1 1/2" of wood chips.

How often do you have to water where you are?
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Post  kensadams 5/27/2014, 8:58 am

sanderson wrote:Kensadams,  We are on water restrictions so it's 15 minutes 3x week.  In the heat of the summer, I hand water (with a hose wand) the other 4 days.  The beds constructed from thick 2 x 4's are easier to keep moist and cool.  The beds made of thinner fence planks (8" x 1") dry out faster.  The 1' x 1' mini boxes only work in the winter/spring!  And here I thought I was so clever to have the cute little mini boxes.  I also mulch with 1 1/2" of wood chips.

How often do you have to water where you are?
Hi Sanderson,

Good Tuesday morning to you.

I have been watering about 5 minutes twice a day.  Been thinking it might be too much but the plants haven't shown any signs of being over watered (have been using this volume last year as well) so probably on target I guess - I probably overthink these things too much Wink


Live in the metro Boston area.
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Post  sanderson 5/27/2014, 1:55 pm

Ken, I'm sending you a P.M. The P.M. at the top of the page will flash Red.
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Post  kamigh 1/25/2015, 5:07 pm

I'm back to this topic . . . last year my mom did me a 'favor' and had our irrigation people come and add driplines to my two beds, but they put in these huge hoses that frankly don't drip very much.  I'm not happy with them so I'm revisiting my options.  My husband said he'd help me put together a PVC grid like Gloria's but I have a question - where do you get those 'X' fittings?  I didn't see them on my cursory trip to Lowes, and when I look online the only thing I'm seeing is 5 way furniture-grade fittings, and they are expensive.
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Post  sanderson 1/25/2015, 7:13 pm

For tees, 3-ways, X's and 4-ways, and other complex fittings, I order from:
http://www.snapclamp.com/
I'm sure there are other companies.
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Post  has55 1/26/2015, 12:13 am

sanderson wrote:For tees, 3-ways, X's and 4-ways, and other complex fittings, I order from:
http://www.snapclamp.com/
I'm sure there are other companies.

I do the same as Sanderson.
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Post  kamigh 1/26/2015, 9:10 am

Perfect!  I knew that you smart gardeners would have a link for me  Very Happy
Much appreciated!
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