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Q: Setting Up an Irrigation System

May 26, 2009 -

Question:

Hi,

I am trying to create a watering system for my front yard:  http://sustainableeats.wordpress.com/2009/03/09/sustainable-lawn-conversion/ and it needs to go many different directions.  I am trying to figure out the technical specs on your soaker hose in as far as I need to know how many feeder lines and what length of line I can have off a main ½” poly tubing.  It seems that the soaker hose might work best since I have so many rows per raised bed and some of the beds have multiple levels of height.

I’m a little overwhelmed and need to get this ordered soon so I would appreciate any help you can give me.  I’ll be blogging extensively about this since I think it would be beneficial for the home veggie grower.

Warmly,
Annette
http://www.SustainableEats.Wordpress.com

Answer:

Hi Annette,

Kudos on your efforts and plans!  I enjoyed your blog…

I understand your feelings of being overwhelmed, you are not alone!  Keep in mind that setting up a drip system will take some trial and error, observation, tweaking, etc. before it is a (somewhat) self-sustaining system.  There are many choices in drip irrigation, and oftentimes small-scale growers use different systems or parts depending on the different crops they grow.  For example, T-Tape or Soaker hose is often used for greens and other crops that are planted close together because it soaks the entire surface of the soil.  For tomatoes, however, poly tubing with emitters or shrubblers might be the way to go, so as to bring water directly to the roots instead of over the entire bed (by watering more point-specific, you cut back on water waste as well as weed growth).

You could go with just the T-Tape or Soaker Hose since it is more simple (at least until you have time to figure out the rest).  I personally prefer T-Tape, because its easier to have spaces that do not emit water (in the paths between beds for example) and I can have beds with Poly Tubing and emitters mixed in.  Basically, you use poly tubing:  as the “foundation” and run the T-Tape from it.  The way to connect T-Tape to poly tubing is to run the poly down the width of the beds and use the Tape-Loc 1/4” barbed fitting to attach the T-Tape: .  The barb goes into the poly tubing perpendicular, like this TTTT the lines going down representing the T-Tape.  This is the punch.

If you choose Soaker Hose, the benefit is that you can snake it around; it doesn’t need to be in straight lines like the T-Tape, these are the fittings, it also explains some of the specs.  The soaker hose we currently have does not connect to Poly Tubing.

I’d be glad to talk to you about it over the phone, if all this is confusing you even more!  It’s difficult to explain in writing.

ps-Here’s a good overview of factors to consider as well as defined terms: http://attra.ncat.org/intern_handbook/irrigation.html

Hope that helps and thank you for growing organically!


Categories: Drip Irrigation, Poly Tubing, Drip Emitters, Drip Irrigation Supplies, Garden Soaker Hose, T-Tape, Emitterline


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