homemade drip irrigation

glazed(5b)February 27, 2009

Hi, I am saving 2 liter plastic bottles to use as slow drip irrigation for my tomatoes and peppers. I am planning on putting a very small hole, possibly pin size in the neck of the bottle. Then cutting off the bottom of the bottle and putting pantyhose over the top with a rubber band around it to hold it securely to the bottle. Then bury the bottle halfway into the soil with the bottom of the bottle sticking up out of the ground. The point to all of this would be to give each plant water slowly while making it easy to fill up with a hose and the pantyhose to keep mosquitoes from making the bottles their home. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Is this a completely stupid idea?

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I like the idea. I would use either a gallon milk jug or 2 liter and fill the bottom of it with some small rocks to give it some weight so it won't blow away. I would put a couple of small holes in the bottom and fill it from the top. This sounds a little easier to me. If you happen to make the holes too big then you could put the cap on the top and it may slow down the drip as well...

    Bookmark   February 27, 2009 at 6:34AM
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I use gallon milk containers with a few holes in one corner of the bottom and set it near the plant and let it slowly drip. About 3 inches of small river stones work great in the bottom to keep the bottles in place. Just fill with a garden hose when needed.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2009 at 8:24AM
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jimster(z7a MA)

Approximately how long does it take for the bottle to empty?


    Bookmark   February 27, 2009 at 1:21PM
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I try to have a gallon drain about every 3 days. To me, that seems like just the right amount of water for my climate.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2009 at 1:25PM
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Thanks for the tips. I didn't even think about them blowing away. The rocks are a great idea. I will be watering from the part I cut off not from the lid. lol thanks again

    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 2:14AM
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beeziboy(z5 IN)

I use milk jugs connected to 1/4" tubing for my drip irrigation system. The drip can be controlled by squeezing the tubing.


Here is a link that might be useful: http://forums2.gardenweb.com

    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 3:56PM
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Is there any vegetable that could be overwatered using this method, such as onions?

    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 7:50PM
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sounds like a good idea to me..
i will try it too

    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 11:18PM
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jessicavanderhoff(7 Md)

Did you have any tricks to make it empty at that rate? How large was the hole? One hole or two? Mine always seem to pour out or not drip at all.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2009 at 8:42PM
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Wow... I had this same idea and have been saving milk jugs (much to the hubby's dismay - I have quite a few jugs at this point) for the past couple of months. My original idea was to cut off the bottom of the jug, and turn it upside down and bury the top portion in the garden. Then, just fill up the jugs to water the garden.

But I like the idea of just poking holes in the bottom and weighting down with rocks because then they would be more portable, so it will be much simpler when the spinach bed turns into my tomato bed :)

z7one: I have the same question as jessicavanderhoff - how big/how many holes do you use for the right drip rate?

    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 5:27PM
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sunnyside1(z6/SW Mo.)

Breeziboy, how did you attach the tubing to the milk container?? Then you ran the tubing down to and along the plant row, where holes were punched to irrigate?? Looks like a really good idea for my small raised beds. Rate controlled by clothespin? I could hang milk bottle from shepherd's hook.
I'm intrigued.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 3:44PM
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eaglesgarden(6b - se PA)

I plan to use 3 jugs for every 2 plants. I will try to set-it up so that it will drip once every 10 seconds, when full. That should last about two days. But, at the same time, I want to also give the tomatoes about a gallon of water immediately, on the days I water. I plan to do this only once a week. The first gallon will wet the top layer of soil very effectively, but probably wouldn't get very deep, but the next gallon for each plant should really get deep to water the lower roots.

Everyone says that you can't OVERWATER (meaning too much water at once) established tomato plants, but that you can water too often (typically watering more often means less water at a time, so that it only gets into the top layer of soil, leading to shallow roots.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 5:17PM
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Hi, MY drip system is a little homemade and a little store bought. I bought 2- 55 gal rain barrels with faucets added to the bottom and screens over the 4 inch openings on the top. Attached a 1/2 inch plastic hose to the first barrel and ran the hose down the row between my tomato plants ( 4 ona side). Punched holes in the 1/2 inch hose and added 1/4 inch barbed connectors to which i added 1/4inch plastic hoses and ran to the tomato plants. Added 1gph drip emmitters to the end of these 1/4 inch hoses and placed at the bottom of the plant stem, holding inplace with a bent wire pushed into the soil. Other barrel added adouble headed faucet adapter to the barrel faucet. off one head ran 1/2 inch plastic hose like other barrel and ran to my peppers and cucmber plants. off other head ran a long soaker hose down my bean rows. This not only takes care of the watering but since I live in the country and use well water the water I store in the barrells warm up considerably before I put it to my plants. Had planned on puttiong these barrells next to thehouse and collecting rain water in them then running to garden but never got around to it. I just fill these barrells with well water and let it sit till it warms up some. I only need it anyway when some time has passed between showers. Plus with this system Miracle Grow can be aded to barrells at anytime and plants can be fed.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 8:26PM
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I'm wondering if you can paint the outside of the plastic bottles with an acrylic paint, so they aren't so noticeable in your flower beds. We lost almost everything last year (drought, then 2 freezes) and are trying to rebuild a flower bed of some sort. Can you paint the plastic milk jugs? Thanks!

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 8:08PM
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